Capital & Main’s Latest News Section.
(This post first appeared as a Los Angeles Times opinion piece.)
Last week, one of the country’s oldest and largest public economic development programs came to an inglorious end when the governor and Legislature pulled the plug on California’s 400 redevelopment agencies.
So why did the governor and lawmakers end the state’s only real community revitalization program, especially at a time when there is such great need for jobs and affordable housing?
The biggest reason was the desire of local governments and the state to use the programs’ resources — about $6 billion a year statewide — to fill budget holes. But part of the fault also lies with the agencies, which never fully articulated a mission or resolved tensions between public purpose and private profit.
The purpose of redevelopment, laid out in the original law authorizing it, was to “eliminate physical blight,”
By Maria Elena Durazo and Denny Zane
(This feature first appeared on the Huffington Post.)
While Washington, D.C. has been stuck in what amounts to a partisan traffic jam on the 405 at rush hour, unresponsive and unwilling to rebuild our national economy and infrastructure, we took matters into our own hands in Los Angeles.
In November of 2008 business, labor and environmental organizations of Los Angeles County worked together to sponsor Measure R, a half-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects throughout the county. When voters overwhelmingly approved Measure R, they may have been looking primarily for solutions to traffic congestion and air pollution, but they succeeded in approving nearly $40 billion over 30 years to create hundreds of thousands of jobs as well as an economic stimulus for Los Angeles.
In addition, Mayor Villaraigosa is working hard to convince the federal government to create a program of low-interest financing for Measure R’s transit program to accelerate the implementation of those projects over 10 years,
It’s not known if the Tea Party will ever be identified by one color, the way our two dominant political parties are. With red and blue already taken, it’s tempting to guess that the Tea Party would embrace – well, white. In any case, it won’t be green. Consider a February 4 New York Times piece, which spells out the tireless campaign waged by the movement against any legislation tilting toward a sustainable environment. Some of the laws vehemently contested include:
The reason for Tea Party opposition to these seemingly uncontroversial undertakings is a deep suspicion of an obscure and nonbinding United Nations resolution passed in 1992.
Last week economist Manuel Pastor and I went to talk to the L.A. Times editorial board about the importance of “updating” its position on living wage policies. The week before, the Times had written an editorial in support of the MTA construction careers policy, but at the same time criticized living wage policies as part of “a long and mostly unsuccessful history of using public resources to try to engineer positive social outcomes.”
Over the years, the L.A. Times editorial board has written at least a dozen editorials criticizing the various living wage policies adopted by the city and county of Los Angeles as job killers, bad economic policy, government interference with the market and many more names.
One of the things that I have written about before is that living wage policies in Los Angeles have actually been very successful.
Seven a.m. My alarm jolts me out of a deep slumber. I make my way to the bathroom and run a hot shower. Fifteen minutes later I proceed to the kitchen to start my morning coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, to be exact. I fill my cup and open the fridge to get some milk. No milk! My morning ritual comes to a grinding halt. No relative drank it all and placed the empty container back in the fridge; I’m just incapable of keeping my fridge stocked. I consider running to the supermarket, then realize that the nearest one is a mile away. I grudgingly put on a coat and walk two blocks to the corner store. I walk past the tiny aisle of wilted lettuce and mushy tomatoes to the combination dairy-alcohol case. I groan audibly. The shop only carries gallons of whole milk for almost $5 a gallon. Thank goodness I’m only out of milk.