A Busy California Port Seeks To Grow, But A Neighbor Objects

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Just before officials at the Port of Los Angeles unanimously approved a plan for a vast new railyard last month, the mayor of Long Beach was incensed. How dare they, he angrily asked at a public meeting, value the lives of residents on Los Angeles’s side of the border more than those who live in his city.

It was a provocative statement from the mayor of this city of nearly half a million people, where the port, one of the busiest in the nation, has long driven the economy. For years, Mayor Bob Foster said, he has favored development projects in the region, looking for ways for the port to bring in more business. But the $500 million project by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway would increase traffic and pollution and have a devastating effect on residents in adjacent working-class neighborhoods, he said.

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