Koppers/Beazer East Superfund, Gainesville, Florida Ann Lowry, Koppers Victim and Refugee Citizen Comment Gainesville City Commission Meeting November 17, 2011

22 Nov

I am Anne Lowry.  I am a Koppers victim and refugee.  I’m here to question the City’s commitment to protecting its citizens from the impact of the Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site.  Almost 30 years of inaction to protect residents not to mention the City’s recent actions against Koppers’ victims are absolutely deplorable.  Gainesville’s Koppers’ victims are ignored, bullied, marginalized, and considered collateral damage by government officials at all levels. We are left to die in our contaminated homes. 

 

And as if that wasn’t enough, we are now additionally victimized by our own City.  What are you, our City officials, thinking?  What kind of message are you sending to the community?  Can you tell me how you would interpret the following actions that the City has taken against sick and dying families and children in the Stephen Foster Neighborhood?

1.  The City awarded a $25,000.00 art grant for a “feel good” Koppers Art Project that excludes protest art by activist artists.  The residents’ health issues are not just about cancers but also all the other illnesses such as neurological, skin, and respiratory disorders, miscarriages and birth defects, and so on.  There is also the loss of our property values, with many of us having to abandon our homes and leave behind friends and relationships because of the necessity to protect our health and safety.  So the Koppers’ refugees keep growing in number, and our lives as we knew them are destroyed because of Koppers.  Sick and dying residents, children, and pets, abandoned homes, and destroyed families, friendships and neighborhoods are definitely NOT appropriate subjects for feel good art projects!  So what are you thinking?

2.  The City broke into and entered the home of the late Maria Azcoitia without any notification to family members.  They heartlessly removed Maria’s ashes from her home and dumped them on her sister’s doorstep.  The City told neighbors and the police that the home was to be demolished before any notice was given to the family.  When notice was finally given to her family, they were told that the City will be demolishing Maria’s home at the family’s expense.

3.  The City trespassed and took part of Farlinda Osteen’s property without notice and then gifted that property to Koppers/Beazer, erecting a fence on Mrs. Osteen’s property without any notice.  City employees still trespass on her property to maintain the fence while City Codes Enforcement and other City agencies continue to harass Mrs. Osteen regularly.

I can go on all night about the City’s additional and ongoing victimization of the Koppers’ victims.


 

Approximately $200,000.00 worth of grants have now been awarded mostly to one group “Protect Gainesville Citizens”.  Instead of our government giving grants to a group that does not have the immediately affected Koppers’ victims best interests at heart, all of that money should have been put in a trust for the relocation of victims.

 

So in closing I would like to say to you our elected officials, you are delirious when you state that the City is committed to protecting its citizens from the impact of the Koppers Superfund Site.  Your actions against already stressed citizens tell a different story.  Just because you make a statement, doesn’t make it true.


Anne Lowry, Koppers Victim and Refugee
Citizen Comment
Gainesville City Commission Meeting
November 17, 2011

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