Another one from the Dept. of You Can’t Make This Up, via the LAT:
Al Gore has had some tough breaks — like losing the presidency after getting more votes than the other guy — but the noted environmentalist achieved a singular honor last week, becoming the first vice president to have a Los Angeles school named after him.
And, fittingly, the school will be devoted to environmental themes.
But as in the 2000 election, there’s a catch. Critics say the campus’ location poses a long-term health risk to students and staff.
School district officials insist that the Arlington Heights property is clean and safe. And they’ve pledged to check vapor monitors and groundwater wells to make sure.
The $75.5-million Carson-Gore Academy of Environmental Sciences will open Sept. 13 for about 675 students. As he was with Bill Clinton (who has an L.A. middle school named after him), Gore is second on the ticket to Rachel Carson, the late author credited with helping launch the modern environmental movement.
“Renaming this terribly contaminated school after famous environmental advocates is an affront to the great work that these individuals have done to protect the public’s health from harm,” an environmental coalition wrote in a letter to the Los Angeles Unified School District. Making sure the school is safe “would be an even better way to honor their contribution to society.”
Construction crews were working at the campus up to the Labor Day weekend, replacing toxic soil with clean fill. All told, workers removed dirt from two 3,800-square-foot plots to a depth of 45 feet, space enough to hold a four-story building. The soil had contained more than a dozen underground storage tanks serving light industrial businesses.
Additional contamination may have come from the underground tanks of an adjacent gas station. A barrier will stretch 45 feet down from ground level to limit future possible fuel leakage.
An oil well operates across the street, but officials said they’ve found no associated risks. Like many local campuses, this school also sits above an oil field, but no oil field-related methane has been detected.
Via Doug Powers, who writes in response:
All in all, I’d say that putting Al Gore’s name on a contaminated school is just about the most intellectually honest thing to come from any educational institution in the history of the United States. Potayto, potahto.
Speaking of vegetables, who wants to be the first to take a bite of something from the Carson-Gore Academy’s garden?
The principal also envisions an organic garden that could produce a student-led farmer’s market.
Suwol said Lowry sounds “incredibly wonderful,” but added that she’d feel better if the vegetables were grown in planters above the ground.
Why not grow them in the ground? A “consensus of scientists” say the soil is clean. Grow ‘em in the ground and let Al have the first bite so we can see how seriously he values scientific consensus when it comes to eating something that may or may not make his second chakra glow in the dark.
One final note, from the LAT piece:
In the spring, a school-naming committee received six options, including Pete Seeger Community School. A representative from school board member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte suggested that the folk singer’s “affiliation with the Communist Party,” among other factors, made that choice inappropriate, two in attendance recalled.
Yet they named it in honor of Al Gore, who – like the current occupant of the WH – envisions this country as some sort of future Socilaist Utopia? These days, I’m not seeing much of a difference between Communism and Socialism. You?