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On December 29, 2011 the State Supreme Court dealt California’s 400 redevelopment agencies an unanticipated death blow. This includes the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, where I have served as a commissioner since 2002. Based on the court’s decision and the legislation that eliminated redevelopment agencies in California, the L.A. CRA and all other agencies will shut their doors on February 1, 2012.
The demise of redevelopment agencies, however, does not mean that we have to abandon the noble and necessary goal of public investment in distressed communities. To do so would punish those most in need and make it virtually impossible to address the poverty and unemployment currently faced by millions of Californians.
It is now up to the state legislature to act quickly to give cities a new tool to create good jobs, affordable housing and more sustainable communities. Here are three steps the legislature and Governor Jerry Brown can take to make this a reality.
Can government play a critical role in the creation of good jobs, and target those jobs for economically distressed communities?
Skeptics should look carefully at Construction Careers, a nationally proven tool pioneered in Los Angeles that could bring more than a quarter-million good jobs and up to $72 billion to the local economy.
The L.A. coalition supporting Construction Careers – a policy that combines wage, benefit, and safety standards with hiring requirements for impoverished communities – is asking the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to adopt such an agency-wide policy for its Long Range Transportation Plan, which includes several major transit and highway projects. The vote will be Thursday, January 26 at the MTA Board meeting.
Construction Careers policies have already been successfully adopted and implemented locally by the Exposition Light Rail Phase 2 project, the Port of Los Angeles and the Department of Public Works, among other agencies.
Here is a visual guide to how the Construction Careers policy at the MTA would bring real benefits to the region.
On October 12, 2011, in Lamont, California, Armando and Eladio Ramirez went into a composting drainage pipe, wearing only painters’ masks for protection – and breathed in fatal amounts of hydrogen sulfide. Armando, 16 years old, went in first to clean out the pipe, and died almost immediately; Eladio, 22, went in after his brother to help him, and was rendered brain dead, dying the next day.
These deaths happened at a green waste processing facility run by Crown Disposal Services – a prominent player in L.A.’s commercial waste and recycling market – and are being investigated by Cal-OSHA, the CA Department of Labor and the United States Department of Labor.
Several weeks after Armando’s and Eladio’s deaths, a group of recycling sorters, waste hauling drivers and helpers filed a formal complaint with Cal-OSHA, chronicling a litany of severe health and safety violations taking place at American Reclamation, a waste and recycling company in Atwater Village that also plays a significant role in L.A.’s commercial waste and recycling industry.
When it comes to America’s race to the bottom, Apple is right there at the finish line waving the checkered flag. At least that’s the impression one gets from reading “How U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work,” in Sunday’s New York Times. Reporters Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher begin their lengthy piece with an unsettling anecdote set at a 2011 dinner for Silicon Valley big wigs that was attended by President Obama. At one point the president asked the late Steve Jobs why Apple couldn’t bring back to America the tens of thousands of jobs it had outsourced, mostly to Asia, where its iPads, iPhones and other products are engineered and assembled.
“Those jobs aren’t coming back,” Apple’s CEO reportedly replied. End of discussion.
According to Duhigg and Bradsher, Apple’s brass believes the American worker, besides earning too much money for his or her labor,
An ice machine had been leaking for nearly three months creating a pool. I wish I could call it a puddle, but when a person can drown in the water they fall in, I’ll refer to it as a pool.
I felt like a real idiot after it had happened. I mean everyone knew that the LAKE of water was there. Servers, cooks, the chef and even the restaurant management of the Hyatt Andaz hotel knew to be wary of this certain area, but as minds go, mine was somewhere else — but came crashing back to reality within an instant.
The week after the accident was filled with doctor’s office visits,