California: Does it meet Everyone's Expectations?

Essay by ataste4thegoodstuffUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2004

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Sometimes it is hard to look at the trouble in your own backyard. People even tend to look past things when it does not affect them. It is even more disappointing, when it takes someone being personally affected before anyone speaks up about an issue at all. That is what was happening to a little town in California named Kettleman City.

California: it is known for the beaches, good weather, cultural diversity, large economy, and land of opportunity. Sure, California may be the land of opportunity and wealth, but it does not always meet everyone's expectations. Looking at current issues troubling California today, you will find that many of these issues represent the same issues faced by society in general.

Kettleman City is an ordinary farming town between Los Angeles and Sacramento, located right off of Interstate 5. The city's population in the late 70's was approximately 95 percent Latino.

These people were mostly farmers and farm hands. The people of Kettleman City were unaware of anything unusual happening, but they soon found out their city was not ordinary after all.

In 1979, a company named Chemical Waste Management opened a landfill in the southwest area three miles away from the town. At first, the people just thought the trucks were going back and forth to some kind of construction project. Until strange oily-garlic odors began drifting into town during the evening wind, nobody knew what was going on or even questioned it (Street 262).

The city at last found out they had a toxic dump right in their backyard. Finally, they had learned the company was accepting; cyanide, benzene, asbestos, cleaning solvents, heavy metals, and numerous other chemicals (Street 262). In 1988, when Chem Waste tried to get permits to open an incinerator near [what was to become]...