City of Vernon Combined Cyclemalburg Generating Station

City of Vernon Combined CycleMalburg Generating Station

Application for Certification 8.8 Socioeconomics


This section describes the potential socioeconomic impacts associated with operating the proposed project. It includes an evaluation of project-induced changes on public services and infrastructure, such as schools, protective services, and housing availability, and an evaluation of impacts on community issues such as environmental justice. This section is reported as follows:

Section 8.8.1 describes the local and regional environment surrounding the MGS.

Section 8.8.2 evaluates the environmental consequences from the MGS.

Section 8.8.3 describe the City’s plan when the Project permanently closes.

Section 8.8.4 presents the cumulative impacts from other nearby projects.

Section 8.8.5 describes any needed mitigation measures for the Project.

Section 8.8.6 describes all applicable LORS.

Section 8.8.7 lists the agency contacts used to address socioeconomic issues.

Section 8.8.8 discusses socioeconomic permits required by the Project.

Section 8.8.9 lists the references related to socioeconomic issues.

8.8.1  Affected Environment

This section includes a discussion of the Project’s existing socioeconomic conditions. For this evaluation, the regional area is Los Angeles County and the local area is the cities of Bell, Huntington Park, Los Angeles, Maywood, and Vernon. The socioeconomic characteristics include population, employment and labor force, housing availability, public utilities and services, emergency response, medical facilities, schools, local government finance, and environmental justice. For environmental justice, the local area was extended to a six-mile radius around the project site.  Regional Setting

The Project is located in the City of Vernon, one of 88 cities in Los Angeles County. The county is one of the nation’s largest, with 4,081 square miles of land (Los Angeles County, 2001). It includes the islands of San Clemente and Santa Catalina. The county is bordered to the east by Orange and San Bernardino counties, on the north by Kern County, on the west by Ventura County, and on the south by Orange County and the Pacific Ocean. The regional setting is illustrated in Figure 1.1-1.  Local Setting

The project site is at the northeast corner of Seville Avenue and East 50th Street in Vernon. The project site and surrounding area are zoned for industrial use. The nearest commercial development is a restaurant located approximately 750 feet to the northeast of the project site, and the nearest representative residence is located approximately 1,575 feet southwest of the site in Huntington Park. The cities of Bell, Maywood, Huntington Park, and Los Angeles are located adjacent to the City of Vernon, and are therefore included in the local setting. The local setting is illustrated in Figure 1.1-2.  Population

Los Angeles County is one of the most densely populated, highly diverse metropolitan regions in the nation, with a January 2000 population of approximately 9.5 million. This represents a 7.4 percent increase in the county's population since 1990, when the population stood at approximately 8.9 million. The county’s population is projected to reach approximately 10.8 million by the year 2010 and 11.8 million by the year 2020. Projected growth by 2020 represents a 25 percent increase in population from 1990 levels (Southern California Association of Governments, [SCAG], 2001).

As of January 2000, the cities of Bell, Huntington Park, Maywood, and Vernon, combined, accounted for about 1 percent of the total population of Los Angeles County. This represents an approximate 40 percent increase in the percentage of people living in these areas, including the City of Los Angeles. Most residents in these five communities are between the ages of 25 and 34. The populations of Bell, Huntington Park, Los Angeles, Maywood, and Vernon are expected to climb to 45,900, 70,000, 4.6 million, 31,600, and 100, respectively, by the year 2020 (SCAG, 2001). Population estimates and future population projections for the regional area are summarized in Table 8.8-1. Average annual growth rates for each area are summarized in Table 8.8-2.  Employment and Labor Force

Los Angeles County has experienced significant economic growth. The main industries powering the local economy are service, retail, manufacturing, and government. However, employment in the manufacturing sector in Los Angeles County dropped by 2.8 percent in 1999, following three years of growth (SCAG, 2001).

Except for manufacturing, all major sectors of the county’s economy grew during 1999 (SCAG, 2001). Construction employment led the trend with a 12 percent increase in 1999 on top of a 12.8 percent rise in 1998. Housing permits increased 22.2 percent while residential construction expenditures rose by 21.4 percent. Growth in non- residential construction was 5.5 percent in 1999 (SCAG, 2001). Employment numbers for 2000 for the cities in the regional area are summarized in Table 8.8-3.

The primary trades in demand for construction of the power plant include boilermakers, cement finishers, carpenters, pipefitters, and electricians. Power plant operation will not generate new employment (City of Vernon, 2001a) because Vernon is planning to operate the plant with with existingnew contract employees.

The number of workers anticipated by trade for project construction is shown in Table 3.6-1 in Section 3.0, Generation Facility Description, Design, and Location. Table 8.8-4 shows availability of construction workers by trade in Los Angeles/Long Beach metropolitan statistical area (MSA). Based on information summarized in Table 8.8-4, there appears to be an adequate supply of construction workers available to build the plant.  Housing Availability

There are a total of 31,277 housing units in Bell, Huntington Park, Maywood, and Vernon. When the City of Los Angeles is included, the number of housing units increases dramatically to approximately 1.4 million. Vacancy rates average 1.5 percent in these five cities. There are 3.7 million housing units in Los Angeles County as a whole, with a vacancy rate of 5.51 percent (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). A summary of the housing in the study area is provided in Table 8.8-5.

Except for the county as a whole, these vacancy rates are below the federal housing standard of 5 percent. According to the federal standard, an area with vacancy rates below 5 percent is considered to be in short supply of housing (URS, 2000).

In addition to owner-occupied and rental housing, a number of motel/hotel accommodations are available throughout the local area. Hotels and motels in Bell, Huntington, Park, and Maywood are limited to 24 hotels/motels, and there are no hotels/motels in Vernon. However, there are 412 hotels/motels in Los Angeles having a total of 38,800 rooms. In Los Angeles County as a whole, there are 1,436 hotels and motels having a total of 100,137 rooms. Hotel occupancy rates as of April 2001 averaged 73.7 percent, a 2.2 percent decrease from April 2000 (Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, 2001).  Public Utilities and Services

Police protection for the Project will be by the Vernon Police Department (VPD) located at 4305 Sante Fe Avenue. The police station is manned by 55 sworn officers, five lieutenants, and nine sergeants. Response time to the project site depends on the severity of the incident, with response time for an emergency call estimated at between 5 and 10 minutes (City of Vernon, 2001b).

Fire protection for the project will be by the Vernon Fire Department (VFD). The VFD is an International Standards Organization Class One Fire Department with 78 uniformed personnel (City of Vernon, 2001c). There are four fire stations in the City, with Station 2, the closest to the project site, located at 4305 Sante Fe Avenue, approximately 1.0 mile away. Station 2 has one engine company, one truck company, and one battalion chief. Station 2 personnel include two engineers, two captains, five fire fighters, and one battalion chief. Average response time to the project site from Station 2 is estimated to be between 5 and 10 minutes (personal communication, City of Vernon, July 2001). Additional fire protection support could also come from fire stations 1, 3, and 4, located at 3375 Fruitland Avenue, 2800 Soto Street, and 4530 Bandini Boulevard, respectively. Station 2 is also equipped to respond to hazardous material incidents.

Emergency medical services are provided by the VPD and VFD. Vernon contracts with American Medical Responder (AMR) for paramedic support. AMR operates out of Station 2 and would provide ambulance service in a medical emergency at the project site.

The VFD typically transports people with medical emergencies to White Memorial Medical Center, located approximately 2.5 miles from the project site at 1720 Cesar Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles (City of Vernon, 2001c). White Memorial is equipped to handle emergency services and has 370 beds. However, as of early July 2001, the hospital was at capacity (personal communication, White Memorial Hospital, July 2001). The closest hospital to the project site is Community Hospital of Huntington Park, located approximately 0.5 mile from the project site at 2623 East Slauson Avenue, Huntington Park. Community Hospital has 35 beds and is not equipped to receive paramedic services. However, it does have 12 definitive observation units and four intensive care units (Community Hospital of Huntington Park, 2001). Other hospitals near the project site include Good Samaritan Hospital, Santa Marta Hospital, the University of Southern California, and Norris Cancer Hospital, all of which are within 2.5 miles from the project site.

Vernon will provide natural gas fuel, electrical supply, and potable water during construction. The Los Angeles County Sanitation District will provide sanitary sewer service.

Vernon provides solid waste disposal as mandated by California Assembly Bill 939, which requires cities to implement recycling programs to reduce the amount of solid waste disposed of in landfills. The city has a non-exclusive franchise agreement with 33 solid waste transportation firms. This allows individual businesses to choose their own solid waste haulers. This arrangement allows solid waste to be transported to a number of landfills throughout the county. However, according to the City, most solid waste generated within the City is transported to Puente Hills Landfill in Whittier, which is owned by Los Angeles County (City of Vernon, 2001d).

Hazardous materials/wastes will be disposed of at the nearest state or county recognized disposal site following all federal, state, and county rules and regulations for such handling. See Section 8.13, Waste Management, for additional information concerning disposal of project-generated wastes.  Schools

Vernon City Elementary School, located at 2360 East Vernon Avenue, is the only school located in the City of Vernon. The next closest school to the project site is the Special Education Center located at 5714 Pacific Boulevard, Huntington Park. Both schools are in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). A summary of LAUSD schools and 1999 LAUSD enrollment data are provided in Table 8.8-6.  Local Government Finance

The City legislated budget for the recent fiscal year ending June30, 2001 listed revenues for the City’s general fund of $36,351,015 and expenditures of $31,284,054. The projected budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2002, estimates general fund revenues of $40,445,290 and expenditures of $33,747,362.

The City is the sole agency with taxing powers within the relevant jurisdiction. Revenues from taxes, fees and permits which accrued to the general fund totaled approximately $12,013,915 for the fiscal year period ending June 30, 2001. The projected revenues from taxes, fees and permits for the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2002 are $15,173,015.

The City’s population or economic base works primarily in the public and industrial sectors of the regional economy.

The total Project cost is estimated to be approximately $100 to $110 million. The City’s MGS project is expected to impact local sales tax receipts due to the acquisition of approximately $48 million worth of equipment. The local sales tax rate for Los Angeles County is 8%. The Project will generate approximately $3,800,000 in sales tax receipts. There are no other expected impacts on tax revenues, including school impact fees, resulting from the construction and operation of the Project.  Environmental JusticeIn fiscal year 2001-2002, the estimated budget for revenues and expenditures for the City of Vernon totaled approximately $192 million (NOTE - THIS NUMBER WAS IN THE SIMPLE CYCLE AFC, IT CAN'T BE CORRECT). The projected budget for FY 2002-03 will not be developed until the second quarter of 2002. Revenues are projected to be available to meet expenditures in FY 2001-02. The city currently receives 1 percent of the state's 7.75 percent sales tax (state share: 6.75 percent; city share: 1.00 percent).  (CEC DATA REQUEST FOR THIS SECTION:  "PROVIDE INFORMATIONON THE MOST RECENT AND PROJECTED ANNUAL BUDGETS FOR THE CITY OF VERNON" - THIS MAY HAVE BEEN PARTIALLY ANSWERED IN THE TEXT, IS MORE INFORMATION AVAILABLE/)  "PROVIDE A LIST OF CITY AGENCIES, WITH TAXING POWERS, AND THEIR MOST RECENT AND PROJECTED REVENUES"  "DESCRIBE THE CITY'S ECONOMIC BASE BY PROVIDING A LIST OF THE PERCENTAGES OF THE POPULATION WORKING IN DIFFERENT SECTORS"  "PROVIDE THE ESTIMATED AMOUNT OF SCHOOL IMPACT FEES FROM THE PROPOSED PROJECT"  "PROVIDE THE EXPECTED IMPACTS ON TAX REVENUE RESULTING FROM CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION OF THE PROJECT") 

To assess the potential for disproportionate environmental impacts on minority or low-income populations by the Project, U.S. Census data was gathered for areas within a two overlapping six-mile radii drawn from us ofboth the the projectpower plant site and the southern end of the reclaimed water pipeline, using database and mapping software provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. The census tracts within a six-mile radius of the power plant site and the reclaimed water pipeline are illustrated in Figure 8.8-1. Table 8.8-7 summarizes the 1990 population, ethnicity, and poverty data by census tract. The information in this summary includes the total population, percent minority, and percent poverty of each census tract located in the six-mile radius. The table shows 1990 population data rather than 2000 data, to be consistent with available ethnicity and poverty data.

Based on the summary data in Table 8.8-7, 27568 of the 31307 census tracts within both of the six-mile radiius have a minority population exceeding 50 percent. Eleven Ten of the 31307 census tracts in the six-mile radiius have poverty levels greater than 50 percent. The distribution of low-income populations in the six-mile radiius is illustrated in Figure 8.81.