You Can’t Spell East Yard without Bob Eula
By Gilbert Estrada, Ph.D.
Bob Eula is East Yard. He was the heart, soul, and crucial part of three young men who tried to fix a serious problem.
He was the councilman, friend, concerned citizen, and active partisan that worked for a better future. The world was truly a better place with him here.
Robert Eula arrived in the City of Commerce before there was a Commerce. A bright eyed 16-year-old who moved from Connecticut to the Commerce area at his father’s doctor’s recommendation. His physician, like many in the 1940s, believed the L.A. air would benefit his father’s heart condition.
With open lands and Japanese gardens nearby, the Los Angeles River Freeway began construction, later known as the 710 Freeway. “I just noticed a lot of my friends’ homes being taken that I use to hang around with. Well, all of a sudden we hear that the freeway is coming through. You know and it’s here and then the homes are being taken for these bridges,” Robert told me at his home in 2005, which is adjacent to the 710 Freeway.
On his first day as a City of Commerce councilmember in 1972, Robert made sure public comments were heard, ending a previous rule requiring citizens 72-hour written notice before they would be heard, the city reports. With this type of passion for community collectiveness, community service, and policy change, Eula utilized those skills to improve the health of Commerce residents through East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice.
One of the most extraordinary stories he shared comes from 2003 when Eula purchased a carbon monoxide monitor (CO). Once it was turned on, the alarm rang and he called the gas company. When the technician arrived, no CO leaks were found. But when they stepped outside, they found the problem. Commerce ambient air quality was so poor, it set off the alarm.
Bob spent his adult life serving the community. After retirement, he worked even harder.
Bob Eula is gone. Long Live Robert Eula. Long live East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice.