On February 3 PilsenPortal published “Pilsen, the location of a recycling plant, 90 new jobs AND THE STRANGE APPEARANCE OF THE MAN FROM HINSDALE”. I am the man who made that “STRANGE APPEARANCE” at the Whittier local school council meeting and I’d like to respond to the personal attacks and correct the numerous mistakes made in the article.
At the LSC meeting I made a public comment identifying myself as Troy Hernandez. I stated that I’ve lived in the UIC/Pilsen area for the last decade. I stated that I graduated from UIC last May with a PhD in statistics. I don’t think any of that is strange. Maybe the authors found my crooked smile strange; it comes from my Mexican father. He was raised on Racine and Harrison, just like his father, until UIC started construction back in the ‘60’s. I’m not just some guy coming out of nowhere; I’ve been coming to the neighborhood all of my life and I’ve lived in the neighborhood all of my adult life.
Regarding my so-called admission that I “‘had gone to high school’ with the owners of the plant’s competitors”, that is the opposite of what I said. My comments were not made publicly at the LSC meeting, but were made afterwards to
a young light brown-haired lady with a blue streak Sara Walker, niece of Pastor Emma Lozano, after the meeting who claimed to work with the Youth Health Service Corps. I told her that I had gone to Hinsdale South High School (which isn’t actually in Hinsdale) with the family that owns Pure Metal. This is the company that is proposing the new facility. To be clear, I don’t know the owners of any of their competitors. I’ve never met any of their competitors and I’ve never taken any money from any of their competitors. I tried in good faith to explain to her that I wasn’t out to ruin the family’s business. While I don’t know the family personally, I’ve heard their name many times and we share mutual friends. This makes my opposition to the proposed facility all the more difficult.
In regards to my public statements on the number of extra cancer cases that the metal shredder would produce, I made it explicitly clear that the presentation slides from the Houston Department of Health and Human Services [pdf] that I had access to at the time had insufficient detail to produce reliable estimates relevant to Pilsen. I did make it clear that metal shredders carry a measurably increased risk of cancer.
Regarding the insinuation that I suggested the area was “prime real estate for developers, upscale housing or starbucks type retail, that will gentrify Pilsen”, again, THAT IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT I SAID. I said it was prime real estate for lots of industries and that Pilsen didn’t have to settle for a cancer-causing industry. Pilsen needs jobs, but we don’t need to sacrifice the health of our high school students and community at large to get them. We’re surrounded by major attractions for any industry: two expressways, a shipping canal, a major railyard, hard workers, and a vibrant community.
I don’t know who wrote the article in question, but I do know that the details for it came from
this light brown-haired lady with a blue streak Sara Walker who claimed to work with the Youth Health Service Corps. She is the only person I shared these details with after the meeting. Regardless of whether she purposefully misrepresented my words to Familia Latina Unida Ministries or she only heard what she wanted, the race-baiting and personal attacks are unacceptable in any serious discussion of our neighborhood’s health and economy.
My detailed review of the journal paper by the Houston group [paywall] and my opinions relating to that is forthcoming.