RANTZ & RAVEZ-It all began with the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and the promise to ignite renewed interest and economic development in vast areas of the city that had been neglected for years and fallen to neglect, decay and desperate economic conditions.
In the West San Fernando Valley, Canoga Park and Reseda were selected to participate it the CRA program. What this did was capture property tax dollars from selected areas and keep those dollars in the selected areas to invest in improvements. The Madrid Theatre replaced a local strip club and improvements began to take place in the Canoga Park neighborhood along Sherman Way. There was a big celebration with then-Mayor Richard Riordan and local councilmember Laura Chick leading the cheering section. The area began to see business improvements. The programs continued to run as more and more business store fronts were transformed, creating shiny marquis and an improved economy for local business owners and the growing Chamber of Commerce.
As time passed and Sacramento politics got involved, the CRA funds were stolen from the community by the State of California. A neutered CRA could not function without the funds that were saved for community improvements. While Reseda was scheduled to see more infusion of CRA funds into the community, the rug was pulled, and all scheduled improvements eliminated. Every pending project was scrapped and the majority of the CRA staff was eliminated. I was working with community members to renovate the Reseda Theatre along with other areas along Sherman Way in the heart of the town.
Nancy Sweeney and her husband Walt formed Revitalize Reseda and brought in the community to assist in the renovation. It was truly a team effort with Nancy and Walt serving as the main boosters. We had purchased property along Sherman Way just west of Lindley with CRA dollars and major commercial business investors were scheduled to build on the site. We were crushed when all the CRA funds were pulled and the area continued to deteriorate. Nancy became ill and ultimately died with her dream unfulfilled. My 12-year term as a Los Angeles City Councilman came to an end and the neglect along Sherman Way in Reseda continued until now.
Bob Blumenfield (photo above, right) was elected to the 3rd City Council District when I termed out. He and his crew have been working to fill the void along Sherman Way in Reseda for the past few years. It was announced on October 4, 2018 that Blumenfield found funds to spark interest in building an Ice Rink along Sherman Way just west of Lindley in the vacant lots that fell to the collapse of the CRA. He has teamed with the Los Angeles Kings Ice Hockey Team and signed a public-private partnership to build and operate the Reseda Ice Rink. The facility will cost $26 million and will be owned by the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks and managed by the Kings and American Sports Entertainment Company. The rink should be open by 2021.
Kudos to Councilman Bob Blumenfield and his staff for igniting the flame in Reseda. “Reseda Rising” is his program to enhance Reseda – to bring new energy and improvements to the community. A job well done and congratulations to Councilman Blumenfield. This is truly a RaveZ for the community and the Councilman!
How should I vote in the election next month?
I have been asked my position on a number of ballot measures. People become confused with all the TV ads and mail they receive on the various measures. I am registered as a “Declined to State” and vote for the individual, not any particular party.
When it comes to the eleven bond measures and additional taxes, I review the facts and decide how I will vote. For example, Bond measure 11: when you look at the TV commercials you would think that your sworn firefighters and paramedics are the ones impacted by this measure. The measure only applies to the Private-Sector Emergency Ambulance Employees.
I will share my November 6 election insight in my next RantZ and RaveZ.
(Dennis P. Zine is a former and retired LAPD Supervisor, former and retired 12-year Los Angeles City Councilman and current General Manager at Bell Canyon in Ventura County.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.