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Effort to Repair L.A.'s Crumbling Streets Hits Speed Bump

Neighborhood Council reps want 60-day delay in City Council action on proposed $3 billion bond issue.

The Los Angeles City Council put off a vote Wednesday on a proposed $3 billion bond measure that would raise property taxes to pay for years of street repairs.

The measure has not received support from the city's neighborhood councils. The proposal was formally announced last Friday in order to meet a deadline to place it on the May 21 ballot. City Council President Herb Wesson delayed the vote on the measure until Tuesday.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander made his pitch for the $3 billion road repair bond issue Tuesday night to representatives of Neighborhood Councils from across the city, but the Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates voted 13-1 against the measure. They added their voice to that of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition, decrying what they called the "City Council's predilection for precluding the Neighborhood Councils and their stakeholders from weighing in on citywide measures." The council in December approved placing a half-cent sales tax on the March municipal primary ballot without consulting Neighborhood Councils.

"We all recognize the streets need to be fixed," said Jay Handal, chairman of the Budget Advocates committee. "Our argument is about the fact that the council has again given us 24 hours notice to look at a $3 billion issue."

If the bond measure were approved, the owner of a $350,000 home would see an annual property tax increase of about $24 the first year, rising to a peak of $113 a year, Councilman Joe Buscaino, co-sponsor of the measure told the Daily News. Construction will create 30,000 local private jobs, not city jobs, Englander told the Budget Advocates.

Neighborhood Council representatives complained that they had never been informed about the bond proposal and demanded a 60-day delay in order to give the city's 95 local boards an opportunity to review the plan.

Englander, who represents much of the northwest Valley, has been flogging the idea since before he was elected, at meetings of the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council, the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council and the Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council, as well as other venues in his district.

Englander spokesman Matt Myerhoff told Patch that the bond proposal has been undergoing "back-end work" for months, and Englander had to move quickly in order to meet a deadline to add it to the May 21 ballot while interest rates are low.

Wednesday's motion only "directs the city attorney to draw up the ballot language," Myerhoff said, and a complete street inventory is required before the plan can move forward.

Neighborhood Council coalition's Chairman Terrence Gomes, in an open letter to 95 Neighborhood Council presidents, complained that said the surprise introduction of the $3 billion bond proposal came without warning or public notice.

"They did this without any input from the public or the Neighborhood Councils that represent the stakeholders that will have to shoulder the eventual burden," Gomes said.

Englander and Buscaino, who represents the San Pedro area, are about to launch an explanatory website and are planning extensive outreach and four regional meetings before the City Council takes a final vote on Jan. 29.

"We are planning to meet with the Neighborhood Councils and other groups to explain the proposal," Englander told the Daily News. "This really isn't new. I have been working on this since I was chief deputy to (former Councilman) Greig Smith."

The bond proposal would appear on the same ballot as the mayoral runoff election as well as two initiatives dealing with medical marijuana.

Englander told Streetsblog LA that sidewalk repair isn't being left behind, it would be paid for with money left over from road repairs.

“You can only bond for projects that are specifically listed by law,” he said. “We have conditions for all 28,000 lane miles. We know where all 9,000 lane miles that are in failed and degraded condition are at. With sidewalks … they haven’t been inventoried yet.”

“Not a dime is allowed to go into the general fund or any other program, other than sidewalk reconstruction or the road repair fund,” Englander said.

For more see:

  • $3 Billion Los Angeles Street Repair Bond Issue Proposed

This article was compiled with information from City News Service.

Alex White January 10, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Absolutely priceless-- "Englander told Streetsblog LA that sidewalk repair isn't being left behind, it would be paid for with money left over from road repairs." Right-- and all the "undocumented" worker/residents/anchor-baby makers will start paying taxes on their cash income as a 2013 New Year's resolution. And, as for all that "unpermitted" remodel/construction work-- all those upstanding, honest citizens will ante up what they owe the city. While we're at it, all the unlicensed contractors, gardeners, and street venders will also acquire city business licenses because they actually don't just want to live in L.A. and suck it dry, but they actually want to support the city they reside in. And, just for kicks, all of these high-integrity career politicians will voluntarily take a pay cut, reduce staff and operating costs, and they will willingly donate part of their pension to the city coffers to help maintain this ever growing sanctuary city. "Don’t Bogart that joint, my friend…pass it onto me." And JWH IV was spot-on about the DWP. I shut everything off, and still my .... aches!
David R January 10, 2013 at 10:13 PM
as long as the citizens of LA continue to vote for the same people just because of the letter next to their name we will continue to swirl down the drain. I grew up in Encino and have watched this city turn in to a sh!*hole. Why cant the city use the money we already pay for street repair in gas taxes? Oh that's right, it went to the general fund for BS spending. It's time to make a big change to LA, flush the political toilet and vote Kevin James for mayor. If we do not fire the SOB's that have ruined this city they will continue to do so. I will not even get into the DWP ripoff that occurs daily...
Don Jagg January 11, 2013 at 06:57 AM
I have lost all confidence in Mitch Englander. As a hard working class homeowner of the West Valley for 40 years, I thought that he represented me. Boy was I wrong. Property taxes to pay for roads? Except for the part that goes past my house, what does one have to do with the other? Perhaps a history lesson is needed. Several of these comments are right on the money. People are politically stupid. The first comment is classic. This person doesn't even know that they don't live in the city and the only effect it would have on them is that they will presumably be driving down better roads as soon as they get a mile from their house, and it won't cost THEM a cent. Meanwhile, the giant three foot round, 18" deep pothole on N/B Owensmouth at Lassen is entering it's third week of life, and the street racers are having a good old time at Canoga/Lassen and Canoga/Plummer every morning at 2AM - Set your clock to it. This sure isn't the city I grew up in.
Jo January 11, 2013 at 01:16 PM
6 years ago Greig Smith got a motion unanimously passed that would fine the adjacent owners along Tampa, Devonshire, etc. if they do not clean up their parkways & sidewalks behind their houses. $50 first offense, then $100, then $150, then court. Our group of volunteers cleans these messes every Thursday for 2 1/2 years. We ask Mitch Englander, Hey what's the status of fining these people so we can stop doing their work for them? He says "There's not the political will to make that happen; ACE Program will fine them." ACE is lingering forever and ever and us volunteers keep cleaning our neighbors' parkways which is a form of extra taxation. Mitch said the only solution is delivery Did You Know letters - which we did 500 of them to no avail - or clean it up ourselves. So... in order to live in a town that doesn't look like Tijuana, we must clean our neighbors' parkways. hmmm. And, boarding house and "sober living" house businesses are opening up all over the place wrecking entire SINGLE family neighborhoods. Greig Smith had CCFO drafted 7 years ago to regulate these, but all these years later and Mitch Englander still has not gotten this passed and one of these businesses is renting tents in the backyard in Van Nuys. My neighbor rents a bed on his front porch. Lived here since 1957; quality of life is drastically declining. Watch Northridge West Neighborhood Council's website to see where volunteers clean next; join us so we can discuss further. Vote for Kevin James!
Jo January 11, 2013 at 01:25 PM
The new young City employees are being laid off and services are being drastically slashed so the lavish pensions can go on for the existing City employees. Shame on our politicians. They give away the lavish pensions so they can get reelected. Illinois may be asking for a bail out from the Federal Government due to their unfunded pensions. They are the only state that is in worse financial condition due to pensions than California. Why should states that live within their means bail out States like Illinois and California that go into crazy debt all because their corrupt politicians place union pensions as their #1 spending priority? Street sweeping is practically nonexistent now on the roads where the City does not collect parking fines. Parking fines (aka taxes) have gone up 80% under this wife-cheating mayor, and these fines mostly impact low-income apartment dwellers...so much for what they call "fairness." California and the other on-the-verge-of-bankruptcy states are run by Democrats...can't the "low information voters" see how these big government types end up wrecking their cities and states? Vote for Kevin James!

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