years ago in a historic turning point, Tom Bradley was elected mayor of
narrow-minded bigots who had wielded so much power for so long were toppled and
a new liberal leadership took over with values and a vision that was far
different on many levels.
a city sprawling far beyond its boundaries into the deserts to the north and
east and along the coast and satellite centers like Century City and Warner
Center, they rebuilt downtown with towering skyscrapers that were heavily
subsidized public money and took the city’s wealth and poured it in a subway
and train system to nowhere but downtown.
did the same thing for
as if the rest of the city didn’t exist. And it might just as well have not
existed for the billions of dollars in Community Redevelopment Agency subsidies
was money drained from property tax revenues that could have been used to hire
cops, pave streets, revive dying neighborhoods.
become less a city than a scheme to enrich developers by lining the
thoroughfares of suburbia in the
with cheap apartment buildings even as the defense industry collapsed and banks
and major corporations fled the city and with them middle-class jobs and
became overwhelmed with poor and needy students. Gangs took over whole
neighborhoods. The tax base eroded even as the cost of city government soared
out of control because of sweetheart contracts with public employee unions that
along with developers supplied the cash to elect nearly every official in City
this was an accident.
today with high unemployment and soaring poverty rates is the direct
consequence of the vision that has guided – misguided actually – the city for
been lost along the way is respect for the city’s four million residents and
why they are here.
It was the
perfect climate and the unlimited freedom and the lifestyle that brought people
from all over the world to LA, that turned the Valley into the largest enclave
of middle class life in history, a place where barbers and mechanics could own
homes and parlay their growing equity into real wealth and security.
It was the
ultimate fulfillment of the American dream, a paradise for the common man and
woman who yearned for nothing more than a place in the sun to call home.
that has driven public policy for so long ignored what it was that attracted
ambitious people and good businesses to LA. Instead of capitalizing on the
have tried to turn the city into New York West and damaged the quality of life
in the neighborhoods almost beyond repair and turned LA into a dense and aging
city with a 100-year backlog for infrastructure repairs.
principal instruments for carrying out this destruction are the DWP and the CRA
and nothing will change into their huge resources are channeled into
rejuvenating the neighborhoods and restoring the quality of life for the
take a new vision for an LA that works for its people and businesses and that
will only happen when the professional politicians and government functionaries
who hold public office are replaced by people who have achieved something in
their lives and preserved their honesty, integrity and independence.
course, accelerating the densification of the city, will not turn LA around. A
revolution in our thinking and in our political culture is needed and it’s
needed now because what is going on at City Hall is only making matters worse.