For Whom the Bell Tolls

Simi Valley’s Radiation Rangers took no time in blasting home building giant KB Home yesterday as news of its former head, Bruce Karatz, was convicted on four of twenty charges related to a secret stock backdating scandal. Karatz, 64, faces 80 years in prison. His lawyer says that he will appeal.

“I will continue to get strength from the support of my family, including my wife, children and grandchildren, good friends and former colleagues,” Karatz said in a statement after the convictions were announced in court.

“And while this is personally a challenging time, what I continue to value from my time as the CEO of KB Home is the fact that we successfully built a strong company, created more than 5,000 good paying jobs and executed upon a business strategy that created very, very significant shareholder value — all resulting in KB Home being listed in 2006 as one of “America’s Most Admired Companies”.

The Rangers aren’t buying it and say so on their website StopRunkledyne.com in a post readied for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day called “Runkle Canyon Robber Baron Convicted!

“We say hogwash – Karatz made $135.6 million in 2005 alone,” the Rangers wrote. “Only three other public company executives in the United States made more that year but that wasn’t enough for Karatz, obviously. This man who okayed buying polluted Runkle Canyon for KB Home made $227.4 million over a five year stretch but it wasn’t enough for man who counts among his friends one of KB Home’s founders, Eli Broad.”

The self-styled group includes “Perchlorate Patty” Coryell, “Toxic Terry” Matheney and “The Good Reverend John” Southwick and have fought for four years to force KB Home to properly test and remediate Runkle Canyon, no small feat. KB Home made $11 billion in 2006 alone yet for all its billions the Westwood-based company hasn’t been able to force the project through primarily because of pollution problems first exposed by EnviroReporter.com.

Karatz’s conviction on charges of two counts of mail fraud and two counts of making a false statement to regulators resulted in strong Ranger reaction:

“A quarter of billion dollars wasn’t enough for Karatz and now he faces the rest of his life in the slammer. But we, the Radiation Rangers and the knowledgeable citizens of Simi Valley say ENOUGH! We have fought KB Home to a standstill over Runkle Canyon since 2006 and we aren’t giving an inch to the greedy profiteers that would mindlessly expose thousands of Simi and San Fernando valleys residents to untold amounts of radiation and chemical poisons if these developers who have the Mayor and City Council in their pockets, build their 461 homes in this canyon. Not one inch!

“So on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day tomorrow, we say to KB Home: CLEAN UP RUNKLE CANYON!!!

On this special anniversary of Earth Day, it is especially gratifying that the work of EnviroReporter.com, along with the LA Weekly, Ventura County Reporter and Los Angeles CityBeat & ValleyBeat, would help generate enough community concern about a controversial environmental issue that it resulted in a group as effective and determined as the Radiation Rangers.

Filed Under: BlogRunkle Canyon

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  1. I wouldn’t trust anything KB Home says. Our experience with KB Home has been a nightmare.

  2. @Joan Glover: Our deepest sympathies and understanding of the pain you have gone through. Your suffering puts a very human face (literally) on the dangers of radiation seeping into the environment. It is heartening, however, that you are a fighter and not giving up on righting your condition and sharing with us your battle. You are not alone.

    There are several groups listed on our Resources page that you will find to your liking. I’d definitely recommend contacting the Rocketdyne Cleanup Coalition to hook up with folks who know exactly what you’re going through because they’re going through it too. To learn more about what has gone on up on “The Hill,” reach out to the Aerospace Contamination Museum of Education. Two of the most active and important organizations involved in the decades-long battle to clean up Rocketdyne, as the Santa Susana Field Laboratory is referred to in shorthand, are the Committee to Bridge the Gap and Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles.

    Your involvement in these issues that have affected you so much could not come at a better time – a small group of disgruntled individuals backed by the polluter itself have embarked on campaign to derail cleanup plans already agreed to by the State of California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control, NASA, and the Department of Energy. They demand that these parties deep-six agreements to clean up the sprawling site back to its natural background which would leave untold amounts of toxins up on The Hill. If these attempts to torpedo clean up agreements aren’t defeated, folks like yourself could be the continued casualties of contamination that knows no site boundaries.

  3. Joan Glover says:

    In 1998 I moved to Chatsworth and quickly found the hiking trails of Santa Susana Pass…an area that I absolutely fell in love with. I hiked there 4-5 times a week for about 3 years. I started having eye problems and skin cancers, mostly on my face, within a couple years.

    I have been fighting these bloody things for about 10 years now. In 2004 I had 2 surgically removed, on the right side of my nose and under my right eye, then one manifested in the corner of my right eye about a year later. It has been a beast. I have lost partial sight in my right eye and my eye is disfigured and almost closed up, and i have to wear sunglasses in public. It is a permanent scabbing sore. Have had them all around my eye socket, down both sides of my nose around my ribcage, shoulders. Fortunately I found 2 excellent herbal products that kill them. But since I have large amounts of enriched uranium 235 from the remediation that was done up at the SSFL site in 1998/99, they keep coming back.

    I did not know I had been exposed to E U 235 until about 4 months ago.

    I am presently on a detox out of the east European country of Georgia that was used on Chernobyl victims.

    I tried to find a PI attorney to take my case and none were interested. I suppose you have to be dead or dying.

    I would be interested in talking to you or going to one of your meetings. If you have a mailing list please put me on it

    Kind regards
    Joan Glover

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