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HUD JOINS CITY IN CUTTING OUT
I want you to say ''Hallelujah!'
Don't you? Say it with me. Hallelujah! The city of Los Angeles
has just been given part of a $17 billion gift from the federal
government. That's billion, with a ''b.'' Hallelujah!
The money comes from the Department of Housing
and Urban Development, which will give federal tax incentives worth $17 billion
to businesses, stores and industries that agree to locate in community renewal
zones in Los Angeles and other cities that have been awarded these grants.
Hallelujah! A lot of good work can be done with $17 billion.
We don't get grants. We get to pay an
extra $121 million (that's 1million with an ''m") in extra taxes every year
to City Hall that we don't get back in services from City Hall. But no
grants. It's just the way things have always been in Los Angeles. We
pay, they collect. So don't be bitter. Say hallelujah!
There are people in need in Los Angeles and that
grant money will go a long way toward helping them.
It's not the city's fault that none of that help
can reach the Valley.
You see, there is a requirement in the HUD proposal that the ''renewal zones'' be connected physically. And since those sections in Panorama City and North Hollywood with unpaved streets, bad drainage, no public transport, no banks or business development, lousy street lighting and inefficient police protection don't physically touch similar neighborhoods in South Central, East Los Angeles or Watts, the disenfranchised citizens of the Valley will just have to stay disenfranchised. say hallelujah.
City Council President Alex Padilla, who is
supposed to actually represent some of those Valley disenfranchised, has even
urged the California congressional delegation to see whether it can find any
I feel another hallelujah coming on. Or maybe it's just my lunch coming up.
HUD programs like this one are not created in a vacuum and not overnight. Before the guidelines for such programs are written, they are passed around for comment. When this particular program reached Los Angeles, I wonder whether anybody suggested, just suggested, that maybe there were some folks in the Valley in need of as much help as citizens of the basin. Maybe more, since City Hall has been neglecting the Valley for 20 years. Did anybody mention to HUD that the way this grant was written excluded one-third of the citizens of Los Angeles from even being considered for help? Evidently not.
If the mayor, past and present; if the council
president, past and present; if the City Council, past and present, actually
thought of the San Fernando Valley as part of the city of Los Angeles, then
their voices would have been heard long before this HUD grant was awarded.
And the Valley would not have been cut out.
How dare they pit our poor against their
poor? How dare they abandon entire sections of the Valley for 20 years and
then promise their best efforts to bring home scraps and the leavings to our
community? Our community, not theirs, by their decision.
If the Valley does not free itself from City
Hall, I'll wager you'll see a HUD grant for the Valley before you see true
representation in City Hall.
The Lord helps those who help themselves. Hallelujah, brother.