June 30, 1992 - From the June, 1992 issue

Inside Planning: Around the Region and State

Transit Merger Approved 

On May 19th, Governor Wilson signed into law AB 152, Assembly­man Richard Katz’s bill that will consolidate the L.A. County Trans­portation Commission and the Southern California Rapid Transit District into a single agency — the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The new agency will be managed by a Board of Directors composed of the five County Supervisors, four repre­sentatives from the City or Los Ange­les, and four representatives chosen by other cities in the county. 

Included in the bill is a provision that requires lobbyists to register and disclose their clients and expendi­tures. The bill also limits the value or gifts MTA employees can receive to $250 per year. 

Prop. C Upheld 

The California State Supreme Court on May 14th denied the peti­tion of the Libertarian Party to review Vernon v. State Board of Equaliza­tion, the c:ise involving Proposition C, the countywide half-cent sales tax measure approved by voters in 1990. The Court’s denial ends the case and clears the way for LACTC to use the Prop. C funds for its rail and local transit programs. 

Musical Chairs 

Mas Nagami has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Rail Construction Corporation. Nagami was assistant director of the L.A. County Department of Public Works from 1987 to 1990 and has 27 years of experience in public works planning, design and construction. 

Jim Hunter, formerly President of the Central City Association, has become principal consultant to the Assembly Democratic Economic Prosperity Team (ADEPT), a Demo­cratic alternative to the Governor’s Council on Competitiveness that was chaired by Peter Uebberoth.

DSPAC Up and Running 

The CRA’s Downtown Strategic Plan Advisory Committee appears back on track, with Central City East and the Eastside Industrial Area now folded into the Plan area. Businessman Alan Woo has been added as Co­Chair of DSPAC, joining USC’s Robert Harris. 

A 20-member consultant team, which includes Stefanos Polyzoides, Andres Duany, and Hannah Olin, is spearheading an inclusive process of charrettes and public workshops. A draft plan is expected in October with a final plan in November. 

State Growth Management 

Still no word from Governor Pete Wilson on his statewide growth man­agement proposals. “No one knows when or if they’re going to share their ideas with the world,” says one legis­lative staffer. In the increasingly un­likely event that action will occur in 1992, June may be the pivotal month: bills must clear policy committees by July 3rd and the legislature adjourns in August, after a month-long July recess. 

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Parking Lot Housing 

The City of Huntington Park is forging ahead with a program to con­struct housing over city parking lots. The City intends to build 500 such units downtown: it has already signed a development agreement for 280 units. The plan calls for no net loss of parking: a double-deck parking struc­ture will be built to replace lost stalls. 

In support of its downtown hous­ing strategy, the city is also revising its zoning ordinance, increasing den­sities and creating new incentives for mixed-use development. Public hearings on the zoning ordinance will be held in the fall. 

Black-Owned Banks’ Drive 

As part of the city's rebuilding effort, a campaign is underway to attract at least $10 million in new deposits to black-owned banks. The institutions participating in the cam­paign are Broadway Federal Savings and Loan, Family Savings Bank, and Founders National Bank of Los Angeles. Campaign organiz­ers say that mainstream banks have not met their Community Reinvest­ment Act requirements for injecting capital into inner-city communities. 

Taylor Yard Workshop 

The American Institute of Ar­chitects, Los Angeles Chapter (along with other professional groups) is or­ganizing a planning and urban design workshop for the 260-acre Taylor Yard property and adjacent commu­nities (including Glassell Park, Elysian Valley, and the Lawry’s Cali­fornia Center). 

L.A. River advocates view this site as an enormous opportunity to create a workable model of river re­vival. Seventy acres have been pur­chased by LACTC for use as a main­tenance facility, leaving 190 acres for other uses. Councilman Mike Hernandez has requested the CRA to study a redevelopment district for this area. 

Departing from the traditional four-day workshop model, the pro­fessional team will work in two two-­day sessions spaced about a month apart. This process will allow work­shop ideas to proceed in tandem with work by the CRA and LACTC. 

Redevelopment Legislation 

Two bills proposing major changes in state redevelopment law — As­sembly Speaker Willie Brown’s AB 3700 and Sen. Marian Bergeson’s SB 1711 — have been watered down significantly. The Brown bill’s hous­ing requirements have been dropped, leaving only changes in the laws governing Project Area Committees. 

Dropped from the Bergeson bill was a controversial provision that agencies certify that their locality has a valid housing element. The Bergeson bill still would allow redevelopment agencies, under certain conditions, to use some of their housing funds to develop housing outside the agency’s jurisdictional boundaries. Action is expected on this bill in late June.

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