Maybe L.A. could have jobs and park

first_imgI guess you can’t blame Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes entirely. The Public Policy Institute of California recently published a poll showing only 31 percent of voters support extending the current term limits for members of the state Assembly, while another group changed the wording of the same question and found 59 percent of voters in support. So if politicians like Reyes stop listening to voters, it may be because sometimes the voters send out confusing signals. So to be generous, Councilman Ed was probably unsure just what his constituents would want him to do when, in January, the Rotem Co. offered to temporarily lease the unused Taylor Rail Yard along the L.A. River. The deal would have created 200 jobs – and not McDonald’s jobs, either, but $40,000- to $80,000-a-year jobs – the kind of jobs that support middle-class families. And the work would have benefited the city, assembling new cars for our own Metrolink system. The only drawback to the whole deal would seem to be that, first, the cars aren’t made here in the U.S., and second, that at the end of the contract Rotem will fold its checkbook and go home. So Councilman Ed said no. But wait, the temporary nature of the deal is a good thing, because Councilman Ed wants a city park on that property. And everybody likes parks, especially the out-of-work homeless, because a park gives them a place to sleep. And that’s just what L.A. needs, another place for the homeless and jobless to sleep, thanks in part to the city’s hostile attitude toward people who actually employ people. And it’s getting increasingly difficult for even the middle class to survive in this city. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is upping fares from $1.25 to $2 over the next two years. Figure in auto-insurance rates and the astronomical price for gasoline, and the average L.A. working stiff may soon be unable to afford to even get to work by any means. That will push wages higher, and that is another way to drive businesses out of a city. So thanks to Councilman Ed, this city is not going to assemble Metro Rail cars in Taylor Yards. The city is going to have a park there instead, with perhaps a plaque identifying Councilman Ed Reyes Park as a place where people once earned a living and paid taxes. But wait: The construction can’t begin because the park people don’t yet have the money to buy the Taylor Yards. So I guess the people will have to wait for both their jobs and their park. That is a problem. Now, let us think for a moment and see if we can think of something to do. Hmmmm. How about this: The city of L.A. will buy Taylor Yards, but we borrow the money from a bank or something, so that we can repay it over time. Then we lease the property to Rotem, and its payments repay the loan, while assuring that the property is available for the park at the end of the lease. Meanwhile, the park people can collect their donations, assured that when the lease is up Rotem will vacate the property. Of course, Councilman Ed Reyes Park may have to open after the next council election cycle. But all anyone is concerned with is the public good, so that won’t be a problem, right? Kimit Muston is a freelance writer and former San Fernando Valley resident living in Indiana. For six years, he wrote a weekly column for the Daily News.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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