The “goods-movement” industry … where the turkeys stuff the people.

“Although the U.S. West Coast recently has accommodated trade growth, primarily from China, it is walking on thin ice,” was the assessment made by Mr. Richard Bank, the former director of Maritime Affairs.

Former Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn was also tuned in. He discouraged expansion and growth at the LA/Long Beach port complex primarily because of the crippling effects noted on the health and wealth of the surrounding communities.

His successor, Mayor Antonio Villagairosa, doesn’t see it that way though. “Environmentally responsible growth” is what he’s promoting, even though the Pacific Institute, the National Resources Defense Council, Local 10 of the ILWU, and a number of community groups have published a study criticizing the tack taken by those enamored of growing container volumes.

In “Paying With Our Health: The Real Cost of Freight Transport in California,” the authors of that report propose that major corporations relying on cheap freight transport should provide funding for the cleanup of the toxic cloud of smoke and soot left behind in low-income communities.

According to the study, the state estimates that 2,400 Californians die prematurely every year from illnesses linked to pollution emitted by the trucks, trains, ships and cargo-handling equipment used to move goods into and out of the state’s ports. Reducing this polluted atmosphere will cost about $ 600 million annually until 2020, according to the California Air Resources Board, but in objecting to the suggestion that industry should bear the responsibility and the cost of this assault on the public, merchants have taken the position that millions of consumers are the beneficiaries of the goods-movement industry.

“We don’t understand exactly how we are to implement the plan,” said a spokesman of the Pacific Merchant Association, but Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce President Gary Toebben predicted that the plan will lead to shippers, truckers and railroad companies eventually passing costs on to the sheep … er, consumers. Those “costs” are not just paid in dollars and cents, by the way. Along with the 2,400 premature deaths cited by the aforementioned study, there are 2,380 hospital admissions, 360,000 missed workdays and 1,100 missed school days … all directly attributed to pollution from the intermodal industry.

“Poor communities are subsidizing cheap goods for the rest of California with their health,” complained one of the authors.

[That part in an earlier paragraph about the merchants feeling that “millions of consumers are the beneficiaries of the goods-movement industry” … take a minute to review our Vol. IX, Art. 13, entitled “Peanuts”. Read the part about the port directors and their $ 263,721 average salaries … that points to some of the real “beneficiaries”. Thanksgiving Day isn’t the only day turkeys are seen in the “goods-movement” industry.]