September 30, 1995 - From the September, 1995 issue

Inside Planning: CRA Audit, Prop 13 Meets the Internet, and More!

New LA City Council Committee Appointments 

Following John Ferraro's unanimous election to a fifth term as Los Angeles City Council President in July, new committee appointments were made in mid-August: Mark Ridley­Thomas will replace Richard Alatorre on the Planning and Land Use Management committee, joining current members Hal Bernson (Chairperson) and Laura Chick(Vice Chair). New Councilman Michael Feuer, who did very well by the appointments, was bumped up to Vice Chair and Rita Walters replaced Ruth Galanter on the Budget and Finance Committee. 

The big surprise came on the Housing and Community Redevelopment Committee: all three current members, with Ridley-Thomas as Chairperson, were replaced by Rudy Svorinich (the new Chairperson), Alatorre (Vice Chair) and Bernson. Chick was named the new Chairperson on the Public Safety Committee. The Transportation Committee remained unchanged. 

CRA Audit: Excess Properties 

An audit by the Los Angeles City Controller Rick Tuttle revealed that the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has $49 million invested in 80 parcels of land, some of which have been vacant for more than 10 years, resulting in a waste of public resources. 

"These are projects that the community leaders and their City Council representatives have asked us to facilitate. Unfortunately, many of these projects have been delayed because of the recession. The CRA can't just scrap the proposed projects and sell the land at fire sale prices in  depressed real estate market," CRA Chair Dan Garda said. 

Other problems revealed in the audit include the lack of a functioning, automated land inventory system and land inventory information. 

Technology Update: Prop 13 Meets the Internet 

State and local governments are already losing $3.3 billion each year to untaxed interstate sales, and new standards for Internet-based sales promise a devastating loss in local government revenue, according to a report from UC Berkeley's Center for Community Economic Research (CCER). Bellflower is named as one of the top ten vulnerable California cities and counties.

Lopez Canyon May Get Dumped 

The Planning Commission will de­cide in mid-September whether to approve the City of Los Angeles' Bureau of Sanitation request for a one year extension to continue using the Lopez Canyon Landfill for one additional year. City Councilmember Richard Alarcon and landfill's Lake View Terrace neighbors in northeast San Fernando Valley have been leading the move to shut down the dump, which has been charged with being smelly, noisy, often troublesome, and sometimes dangerously toxic, and which receives the bulk of Los Angeles' waste. In early July the Board of Public Works rejected a Bureau of Sanitation request to extend the use of Lopez Canyon for five years beyond its scheduled 1996 closing date. 

The Planning Report wins California APA Award 

After winning the 1995 Award for Joumalism from the Los Angeles APA, The Planning Report was subsequently selected in August as winner of the 1995 California Chapter American Planning Association (CCAPA) Award for Journalism (with a circulation under 35,000). The Planning Report will be recognized during the CCAPA Conference in Santa Barbara in early October. 

Other CCAPA winners included the LA County MTA and City of LA Department of Transportation for their Glendale Boulevard Corridor Preliminary Planning Study, The City of Los Angeles for its LA Resource Program, and the Los Angeles Department of City Planning for their General Plan Framework Public Summary Document 

Yellin to Oversee Cathedral Square 

Ira Yellin, owner of the Yellin Company and developer of Grand Central Square at Third and Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles has been selected by Cardinal Roger Mahoney as Project Executive of Cathedral Square. Cathedral Square will occupy the property bordered by Third, Main, Second and Los Angeles Streets, and includes St Vibiana's Cathedral, which is scheduled for demolition, and the former Union Rescue Mission. A new cathedral—the "Mother Church" of the Catholic Archdiocese—will be built on the site. 

Sacramento Update 

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As the legislature begins its final week, efforts continue to mold a fiscal relief package for LA and Orange Counties. Of immediate interest is a proposal that would allow LA County to "borrow" $15 million from redevelopment agencies within its boundaries. There also will be attempts to add financial aid for LA County to the legislation and possibly language authorizing a trustee to run the County. 

Orange County Supervisors approved a plan in mid-August to pull the County out of bankruptcy by taking funds from transit agencies and sales tax from cities. Orange County cities, no surprise, immediately condemned the idea—which requires state approval—as a raid on their coffers. Disputed points in the Legislature include whether to take more than $38 million a year in sales tax from the Orange County Transportation Authority, a centerpiece of the County plan. 

SB 1066, Local Taxing Authority (Campbell) converts any development tax, condition, or monetary charge into a development fee. As a result, development taxes which are applied to general funds would be prohibited and would curtail a city's ability to raise revenue for the general fund. The school lobby had earlier succeeded in derailing the school fee reform bill; the only school fee provisions that remain are for low-income housing. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board of Directors, under a proposal by one of its own—Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan—would be replaced by a nine­member appointed board that would not include any elected officials. Assemblyman Steven Kuykendall (R­Long Beach) introduced the required State legislation, AB 273, in mid-September. This new bill follows the defeat of earlier an Senate bill that required the Board to be elected. 

Governor Pete Wilson vetoed SB 75, a bill that would have taken $75 million a year for the next five years from the MTA for LA County. However, seeking to avoid a renewed raid on its budget from Sacramento, the MTA in September approved a one-time transfer of $50 million in transit funds to assist LA County with its financial shortfall.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District, tentatively scheduled to adopt the wide-reaching second phase of the Regional Clean Air Incentives Market (Reclaim) in December, will postpone the plan until March 1996. The delay comes after a recently released SCAQMD study found that LA Basin businesses were already emitting far fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than the law permitted. 

People…

Los Angeles Planning Commission President George Lefcoe has submitted his resignation to the Commission, effective September 15. When confirmed in 1994, Lefcoe committed to serve the City only one year on the Commission. No replacement has been nominated. 

John E. Molloy was unanimously chosen by the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board of Commissioners to become the agency's new Chief Administrator. Molloy is former Executive Director of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency and holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Southern California. He replaces Ed Avila, whose contract expired in 1994. Molloy, who took over the CRA in early September, "has a Herculean job cut out for him," CRA Chairman Dan Garcia said. 

Mark Luas is the new Director of the $5.6 million Telacu Revolving Loan Fund, one of five programs in LA County for distributing federal loans to business owners damaged by the 1994 Northridge earthquake. 

Judy Wilson left her position as Executive Officer of Planning and Programming of the LACMTA to become the Chief Administrative Officer for the Sanitation Districts of Orange County. Agapito Diaz is the new Director of Revenue. 

Real estate attorney Richard S. Volpert, has become a partner in the LA-based law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson. 

John Dunlap, appointed by Governor Wilson as head of the California Air Resources Board last December, was approved by the Senate Rules Committee in late August, virtually assuring that he will be confirmed by the full Senate later this year. 

Mayor Riordan nominated Robert L Glushon, an attorney with the firm of Brisking and Glushon to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Glushon is a member of Progress L.A., and previously served as deputy to City Councilman Marvin Braude. Diane L Middleton, an attorney in the Law Offices of Diane L. Middleton was nominated to the LA City Housing Authority. Actor Edward Begley of the television series "St. Elsewhere" was nominated to the Environmental Affairs Commission. Herman Leavitt, General Secretary-Treasurer of the H.E.R.E. International Union was nominated to the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners. 

Steven D. Gavin, civic leader and Chair of the California Community Foundation Board, passed away while vacationing in Ireland on Saturday, September 9, 1995. He will be dearly missed. 

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