JUST THE FACTS-I find it troubling to complain about our crumbling City of the Angels. As a native Angelino, a former Los Angeles Police Officer and a 12-year member of the LA City Council, I am distressed to see what is happening to our once proud, well-managed city.
When my former colleague and friend Eric Garcetti was elected as Mayor, I was very pleased with his “Back to Basics” agenda for Los Angeles. I imagined that, with his combined experience as a city councilmember and council president and now as Mayor, our sidewalks would be repaired, our streets would be paved and the growing homeless population would be addressed. Multiple promises involving billions of dollars and resources from state, county and local agencies have been made through repeated news conferences and press releases.
Given the current division and separation of powers among the offices of the Mayor, the City Council and the various departments that connect the massive Los Angeles bureaucratic government, nothing is being done to correct the situation. Leadership is proposing $1.85 billion to address the homelessness situation, along with increased water and power rates to allegedly address the many social, quality of life and infrastructure issues facing the city.
Our elected city officials must find a way to put themselves on the same page -- to once and for all “Get Back to Basics.” Without a coordinated, well-organized effort by those who’ve been elected to represent the various interests of Los Angeles, we will never overcome the multiple problems destroying LA and our many unique and diverse neighborhoods. The time is now. The agenda is clear. We must work together to make Los Angeles the city we expect it to be – clean, organized and well-run for all the people. Rich and poor, white and Black, Latino and Asian. Everyone.
City Council should focus on quality of life issues, to stay on the same page until matters are resolved. But bouncing from one agenda item to another with no rhyme or reason has been the practice. And in the end, little if anything gets done to address the ills of Los Angeles.
We might think about what City Controller Ron Galperin is doing to earn his salary, and what he is doing to address the management of the various city departments responsible for our streets and communities.
On a positive note, Los Angeles County and its 58 cities, including Los Angeles, welcomed an estimated 45.5 million tourists last year. There is an increasing number of visitors coming from China as well as from Canada and Mexico. Tourism is important for our region’s economy; visitors must feel safe and secure when visiting Los Angeles, and other cities in the United States from coast to coast.
LAX records reflect that approximately 74.5 million travelers came through our congested airport and ventured into communities throughout Los Angeles County. This has all happened with an airport still in need of major improvements that is undergoing an $8.5 billion modernization over the next many years. Unfortunately, the drive from various regions around LA County to LAX remains a frustrating experience for both drivers and passengers. If you have a 7 am flight out of LAX and live in the San Fernando Valley, you need to leave your home at 4 am to avoid gridlock along the 101 and 405 freeways and to navigate the additional security measures in place at LAX.
As 2016 ushers in many national, state and local elections, I will be commenting on the various races, providing information to help you vote for candidates that won’t forget you and your needs once elected. For the record, I am not a Republican nor Democrat but rather one of the growing number of frustrated voters supporting a candidate and not a party.
(Dennis P. Zine is a 33 year member of the Los Angeles Police Department and former Vice-Chairman of the Elected Los Angeles City Charter Reform Commission, 12 year member of the Los Angeles City Council and current LAPD Reserve Officer. He writes Just the Facts for CityWatch. You can contact him at [email protected]) Photo at top: LA Times. Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.
Vol 14 Issue 5
Pub: Jan 15, 2016