By David Barron
According to the recent 2020 Commission Report, ordered by L.A.City Council member Herb Wesson on the state of L.A., the report reveals that our city has been in a decline mode. In other words, we have failed leadership. Instead of our city leaders using what they’ve learned in college for our city’s benefit, they seem to believe that focus groups, platitudes and slogans are more effective if they want to woo the taxpayer into voting for their programs. Programs with slogans such as, Gateway 2 Green, LA River Revitalization, Healthy Los Angeles, earthquake resilience strategies for Los Angeles, re:code LA, Sustainable Communities, and Transit-Oriented Consolidated Plan are presently in the works. It appears these programs are to patronize us at our expense, as they produce ever increasing taxes on L.A. residents, instead of soliciting professional investors to take the risk.
I’m skeptical of the above programs like re:codeLA as proposed, because city leaders have contracted with outside consultants, who live in other states, to rewrite our zoning codes… who benefits? If our city leaders truly want our participation and input to create “safe livable communities and foster an economic vitality” as their brochure states, then they should allow residentsm who know the needs in their neighborhoods through daily experience, the right to plan and zone the way they want and submit their amended specifications for their community’s Specific Plan.
There is a difference between amending a Specific Plan and completely opening up a the Plan. Not long ago, residents fought hard to get a Specific Plan for neighborhoods in their communities.. Residents learned that it was important that they protect their Specific Plan by not allowing anyone to reopen their Plan completely, and to only open it to allow amendments. Otherwise, developers and other special interest groups from outside their community could make drastic changes and destroy their quality of life in their entire neighborhoods. Another reason to be concerned about these above mentioned programs as presented to the public is, they provide no insight to the fine print of the ordinance as written or proposed. Also, equal time is not given for opposing viewpoints that would give the public and taxpayer additional information about the risk and cost that their elected officials are proposing to involve them in.
Apparently there is no referee here to insure the game between elected officials and taxpayers is played fairly, because my observation is that City Council and the government in Sacramento appear to be one in the same. For instance, we have some elected officials who seem to play musical chairs. They get elected and reelected back and forth between Sacramento and L.A. City Council, changing seats and changing titles. So, how can we expect any outcome to be fair for the taxpayer? It seems almost like a conflict of interest when the elected official votes on issues. You would think they should recuse themselves from voting on laws they passed while holding a previous public office positions.
Congratulations to newly appointed DWP General Manager, Ms Marcie Edwards. Hopefully, Mayor Garcetti and Ms Edwards working together, will help rein in cost and bring bring more transparency to the our city’s out of control giant utility
Editor’s note: Mr. Barron is a Civil Servant, local community activist and a Commentator for the NVR.