Loading...
Community

L.A. City Council Breaks Promise to South Central Farmers, Trades Park for Factory

Comments (0)

By

Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 4:50 PM
click to enlarge Butcher paper is no match for a sweet development deal. - LA.INDYMEDIA.ORG

We knew L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry liked to cozy up to rich real-estate types, but this takes City Hall's sleazy development hounding to new lows.

It all started in 2003, when the city sold a South L.A. land parcel hosting the community's beloved South Central Farm to developer Ralph Horowitz -- on the promise that 2.6 acres would be turned back into a park. For the last half-decade, a group of South L.A. residents known as the South Central Farmers have been protesting, passing around petitions and flat-out begging...

... the L.A. City Council to hold Horowitz to his promise. Yet it only took one council vote to unanimously dash those hopes into the dirt today.

Perry has been urging her colleagues since early July to let Horowitz open a compound of clothing factories (called Poetry, Impact, Miss Me and Active) on the full 14 acres, without conceding any to the South Central Farmers.

"It was all a setup," says Tezozomoc, an organizer for the farmers whose father helped break ground in the mid-1990s. "We don't have a full staff of people just to bring people in [and sway the Council]. We spent months collecting 2,500 petitions from the community, and it had no value at the end of the day."

Tezozomoc joined over 50 protesters outside City Hall this morning, giving the Occupy L.A. encampment something new to look at:

At the meeting, Perry justified the deal by asserting that the full development plan would create (up to) 600 jobs in tough economic times. Plus, Horowitz has promised to pay $2.7 million into a fund reserved for nearby park services and renovations to the city-run Pueblo del Sol housing project.

Latina seamstresses out of work, hosted by the clothing manufacturers set to take over the property, advocated for Perry's plan over the farmers'. (As if providing more sweatshop-esque employment "opportunities" -- only 30 percent of which must be local -- is the solution to bringing South L.A. out of the third world.) So did residents of Pueblo del Sol, of course.

But until the city puts that money where its mouth is, and makes South L.A. shine -- hugely abysmal track record there -- the only real winner in the room was a certain 1 percenter named Ralph Horowitz. He'll be making all sorts of cash moneys off the factories in no time, and $2.7 million will be but a plink in the city's leaky coin jar.

"You can't do anything in this city for $3 million, [especially] in the underfunded parks system" says Tezozomoc. "That land would have belonged to our community. [Perry] was saying this was not the appropriate place to begin. Well where are you going to begin?"

The councilwoman's U-turn excuse, via City News Service:

Perry, who argued for the park in 2003, said it has become clear the industrial zone would make a poor location for a new greenbelt. Instead, she said, the city should focus on improving deteriorating parks in adjacent residential areas.

Really? Arguing that setting up more dirty factories in an industrial area is somehow more productive than getting one green foot in the door -- in this case, the 2.6-acre park so important to an invested group of residents -- is the reason ghettos stay ghettos. It's a classic political tactic: Claim one small step "isn't enough," then avoid fixing the problem altogether.

What a sad twist of fate, that the lady with the sparkliest dollar signs in her eyes should reside over the poorest sector of our class-polarized city.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Slideshows

  • Here's What Happens When President Obama Comes to L.A.
    President Obama came to town again to rake in some funds and clog some traffic. The only view of his visit you probably saw were the brake lights of the car ahead of you in the traffic jam he caused, but here's what was really going on. All photos by Ted Soqui.
  • 21st Annual Classic Cars "Cruise Night" in Glendale
    On Saturday, spectators of all ages were out in multitudes on a beautiful summer night in Glendale to celebrate the 21st annual Cruise Night. Brand Boulevard, one of the main streets through downtown Glendale, was closed to traffic and lined with over 250 classic, pre-1979 cars. There was plenty of food to be had and many of the businesses on Brand stayed open late for the festivities The evening ended with fireworks and a 50th anniversary concert from The Kingsmen, who performed their ultimate party hit, "Louie, Louie." All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • The World Cup Celebrated And Mourned By Angelenos
    The World Cup has taken Los Angeles by storm. With viewings beginning at 9 a.m., soccer fans have congregated at some of the best bars in the city including The Village Idiot, Goal, The Parlour on Melrose, Big Wang's and more. Whether they're cheering for their native country, favorite players or mourning the USA's loss, Angelenos have paid close attention to the Cup, showing that soccer is becoming more than a fad. All photos by Daniel Kohn.