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For the love of our children, we go the extra mile. March 11, 2008 will be an important day for all San Diego children as the city council will be debating whether to approve The Children’s Right to Lead-Safe Housing Ordinance which will protect children from the dangers of lead in their homes. The major provisions of the ordinance include:

  • Requires Prevention: Deteriorated lead-based paint will be a municipal code violation requiring increased inspections and repair to prevent the poisoning of children
  • Protects ALL Children in Rental and Owner-Occupied Housing: Landlords and homeowners will be required to repair lead hazards
  • When Housing is Sold (Point of Sale): House must be inspected, repairs made using lead-safe work practices and verified with a clearance
  • When Housing is Rented (At Turnover): House must have visual inspection at each turnover and all lead hazards must be remedied
  • Protect Workers: Establishes clear standards for handling lead in paint and bans unsafe work practices
  • Increases Enforcement: Strengthens city authority to take direct enforcement when required
  • Requires Blood Lead Test: All children must have their blood tested for lead before being enrolled in childcare facilities
  • Requires Public Education: All home improvement and rental equipment stores must provide lead education materials

An alternative proposal is being promoted by the city to water down the ordinance by excluding the point of sale clause, preventing 8000 families each year from lead protection. Protecting children’s health from lead-based paint in older homes should be a no-brainer.

It’s not that easy when there are “other interests” involved. Unfortunately, the San Diego Association of Realtors, opposed to the point of sale clause, has been lobbying intensely against the ordinance. People moving into pre-1978 homes want to ensure that their homes will be lead-safe for their children, grandchildren, and/or guests. Children exposed to tiny amounts of lead may suffer irreversible damage such as reduced IQ, learning disabilities, hyperactivity, and aggressive behavior. voiceofsandiego.org’s article entitled Without A Cause, Fund Tied to Mayor Keeps Growing (August 23, 2007) shows the San Diego Association of Realtors as one of the top donors to San Diegans for City Hall Reform.

Today, as we celebrate Valentine’s Day and show our love for others, including our children, we strongly urge the San Diego City Council to vote with their hearts on March 11 to support the Children’s Right to Lead-Safe Housing Ordinance. With their vote, they will send Mayor Jerry Sanders a clear message — it is our responsibility to go the extra mile for our children as our children’s health is priceless! Please contact your city council representative and/or join us on March 11 to urge the San Diego City Council to go the extra mile for our children. Visit our website for more information.

— LETICIA AYALA

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