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 IF IT'S BROKEN...FIX IT

Getting Serious about LA’s Sidewalk Repairs: A Five-Point ‘Let’s-Get-On-with-It’ Plan

Ken Alpern
FIXING LA-Last Tuesday night's City Council Board of Public Works and Budget Committees met and allowed a lot of good public input to a series of concerned and available Councilmembers and City officials. The attendance and input were both outstanding--I want to thank Councilmember Mike Bonin, in particular, for allowing the outreach and advice to…

Latino Politicians Putting Climate Change Ahead of Constituents

Joel Kotkin
POLITICS-Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward…

Worlds Apart on Kathryn Steinle: When Political Opportunism Reigns Supreme

John Mirisch
MUSING WITH MIRISCH-The small Swedish Jewish Museum in Stockholm is tucked away on a side street. Discreet signage instructs would-be visitors to push a button which activates a camera, so they can be screened before they are granted entry. The museum's permanent exhibition fills one fairly small room. Most of the objects on display are Jewish…

Garcetti Passes, Wesson Fails

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Our Los Angeles Times has issued midterm letter grades for Controller Ron Galperin (B-) and City Attorney Mike Feuer (B+) and will be posting grades for City Council President Herb Wesson this Sunday and Mayor Eric Garcetti the following Sunday. Our City is facing many difficult issues, ranging from a lagging economy, relatively high…

What LA Really Needs: A Part-time City Council and a Part-time Mayor!

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-There are so many serious and pressing problems facing the City of Los Angeles and few if any real solutions are being proposed or implemented by our elected and appointed leaders at City Hall. I will start with the current city budget. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had a $7.7 billion total budget in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.…

Why Don’t the City’s Women Managers Hire More Women?

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN-Perusing the web is a little like the soap operas of yesteryear. You get suckered in! One link leads to another link and then one is exposed to a barrage both facts and idiocy. The reason for this discussion was my attending a July Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC) meeting with the Department of Water and Power. General…

Cleaning Up LA City Hall: ‘It’s What’s Legal That’s the Problem’

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-Everyone understands that developers own our city government. Sure, there are some officials here and there who are upright and independent, but recent history shows that the developers typically get their way in spite of public opposition. Whether it is a zoning change for an office tower or the required permits for a new mall,…

Not So Fast LA! Let’s Consider the Real Costs of Hosting the Olympics before We Jump In

Greg Nelson
SPORTS POLITICS-On Monday, Boston withdrew from its offer to be the nation’s bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. In January, Los Angeles finished second to Boston when the U.S. Olympic Committee made its decision. After Boston was selected to polish up its bid before submitting it to the International Olympic Committee for a final decision,…

Party Crashing for Political Access: Schwarzenegger and My Pantsuit

Charlotte Laws
CALIFORNIA ACCESS POLITICS-Party crashing—or gate-crashing, as it is sometimes called—is an art form that I stumbled upon as a teen. I taught myself how to finagle into any event, anywhere, anytime. It required being part private eye, part actress and part chutzpah machine. I had to think outside of the box, throw myself into the role, and whip my…





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

After Redevelopment What? How About Creating Real Investment in Our Cities?

OUT OF FRYNG PAN - On December 29, 2011 the State Supreme Court dealt California’s 400 redevelopment agencies an unanticipated death blow.  This includes the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, where I have served as a commissioner since 2002.  Based on the court’s decision and the legislation that eliminated redevelopment agencies in California, the LA CRA and all other agencies will shut their doors on February 1, 2012.

The demise of redevelopment agencies, however, does not mean that we have to abandon the noble and necessary goal of public investment in distressed communities. To do so would punish those most in need and make it virtually impossible to address the poverty and unemployment currently faced by millions of Californians.

It is now up to the state legislature to act quickly to give cities a new tool to create good jobs, affordable housing and more sustainable communities. Here are three steps the legislature and Governor Jerry Brown can take to make this a reality.

First, scratch the word “redevelopment,” which has made many well-meaning neighborhood groups bristle at the thought of big developers coming in to “redo” things.  In 2012, California neighborhoods —while distressed — are by and large “developed” and don’t need to be flattened, cleared or re-created, as the word redevelopment implies.  

In fact, many distressed communities are actually cultural landmarks and have numerous historic structures that simply need some investment.  So let’s create a Community Revitalization Program that gives cities a set of practical tools to renew and improve what’s already there.

Second, let’s make this new program fit our collective vision for 21st Century sustainable cities.  The legislature has created a new framework for sustainable urban development that has yet to receive any significant funding.  

Senate Bill 375, championed by Senate Pro Tem leader Darrell Steinberg, mandates that cities and regions develop plans to integrate mass transit with housing development and create more sustainable urban environments.  

Assembly Bill B32, California’s celebrated climate change amelioration bill, requires all Californians to reduce our carbon footprint during the next 18 years.  

On top of these groundbreaking laws, we have the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s projected $72 billion investment in the build-out of 12 new transit lines in LA County, with hundreds of new transit stops projected for LA’s neighborhoods. Let’s give cities a tool to bring all of these mandates together — doing so would go a long way toward creating the sustainable urban environments California needs.

Finally, let’s give cities a tool to help get us out of this Great Recession.  As economist Joseph Stiglitz recently argued, [link] we need government investment to help incentivize the kinds of things that the private market will not deliver on its own. That means living-wage jobs and careers for the people in greatest need, public infrastructure and affordable housing.

This new tool should be precision-crafted so that everyone understands what the terms are:  Public dollars can only be spent on projects that create construction careers, permanent living-wage jobs and affordable housing units for people who live in or near the areas where the development is proposed.  Investors and developers who don’t want to be part of the solution should use private banks, not scarce public dollars.

While the death of California’s redevelopment agencies is a blow to cities, this could also be a moment of opportunity to create a more vibrant, equitable and sustainable future for all Californians and a model for the country.

(Madeline Janis is co-founder and executive director of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. She is also a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Affairs. This piece was posted first at fryingpannews.org) -cw

Tags: CRA, Community Redevelopment, investment, California, neighborhoods, communities











CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 8
Pub: Jan 27, 2012

 

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