Maywood, Calif., residents Minerva Ayala and her son Alexis play by a monitoring well near a Superfund site that regulators have declared safe. City officials still worry about long-term exposure to contaminants. Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor
Maywood is California's most densely populated community. It sits at the crossroads of an American manufacturing and freight hauling juggernaut with a legacy of industrial pollution. Nearly 50,000 residents are squeezed into aging apartment blocks and tidy tract houses between diesel-truck-clogged Interstate 710 and 'exclusively industrial' Vernon, home to 1,200 factories and sprawling freight rail yards. Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor
Jesus Padilla and his wife Francisca display discolored water that flowed from their tap. Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor
Sergio Palos, general manager of one of Maywood's water companies, says that levels of manganese, responsible for much of the discoloration (and for corroded pipes) easily test as safe. Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor
Felipe Aguirre, Maywood's former mayor, was a leading community organizer in the one-square-mile city. Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor
Kenia Alcocer, an organizer for the Union of Neighbors community group, displays bottles of tap water brought to her by Maywood residents. Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor
Sergio Palos, manager of one of the city's water districts, conducts weekly tests. Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor
Weekly water tests are conducted by the city's water districts. Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor
A Maywood family walks past a working chemical plant adjacent to both a residential neighborhood and an elementary school. Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor
The controversial politician has decided not to seek re-election after being hospitalized for a potential tumor. His older brother, Doug Ford, will run in his place.
ByCharmaine Noronha, Associated Press
Ailing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's dramatic decision to drop his re-election bid opened a new chapter in the saga, as his tough-talking but less magnetic brother runs in his place and brings his own storied past into the scandal-laden campaign.