February 28, 1997 - From the February, 1997 issue

Inside Planning: Mixed-use High School Contract Attacked, L.A. River, and more!


  • Rumor has it that the NFL is waiting to see if L.A. City Council will give final approval to the Downtown Arenabefore they seriously negotiate for a team at the Memorial Coliseum
  • The third annual Kosmont Business Survey has again ranked Los Angeles last among 13 cities in the County for annual business license, utility, and property taxes. Top-ranked cities include Santa ClaritaLancaster,Commerce and Vernon
  • The City of Los Angeles has released an RFP for development of the Van Nuys Civic Center (SF Valley's own City Hall), which will include a one-stop permitting center. Responses are due March 17. 
  • Over 100 candidates have registered to run for Mayor Riordan's 15-member elected Charter Reform Commission, but the field is expected to drop after Feb. 18, when serious candidates, facing an LA Times blackout of the contests, are required to submit petition signatures. The Council's own Charter Reform Commission has already secured its 15 members, and currently is searching for an Executive Director. Candidates include: Raphe Sonnenshein, Professor Steven Erie, Xandra Kayden, and Harold Kwalwasser. 

Tracking Alameda Corridor 

Instead of the hoped-for grant, the Alameda Corridor project was promised a $400 million federal loan in January. Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill cited the efforts of Rep. Steve Horn (R-Calif.), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). Gov. Pete Wilson and U.S. Dept. of Transp. Sect. Frederico Pena. The project's growing budget, now almost $2 billion, includes at least $100 million in interest payments.

L.A. River/ LACDA

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and a Los Angeles and San Gabriel River Watershed Task Force have chosen Simons Li & Associates to do an eight-month study of proposed alternatives to the LACDA Flood Control Project and make recommendations. The Task Force was formed by the County as part of an agreement after a lawsuit was filed by environmental groups opposed to the County's flood control project. The study will contribute to a three-year study by an Army Corps of Engineers' feasibility study of watershed management proposals, also required by the lawsuit agreement.

Mixed-Use High School Contract Attacked 

The Hotel and Restaurant Employees (HERE) union and State Senator Richard Polanco challenged a proposed contract to developers of the Belmont Learning Center. HERE and Polanco say that the Kajima International-led Temple Beaudry Partners' innated estimates of revenue to the L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD) invalidate their selection to develop the mixed-use, Downtown-area high school. LAUSD officials deny the estimates figured in the award process. Groundbreaking is slated for April 28.


Wilson Says General Relief No Longer Counties' Responsibility

Gov. Wilson's welfare reform plan in his 1997-98 budget frees counties from paying for General Relict, but shifts none of the burden to the State. L.A. Supervisors have pledged continuing support to at least a portion of the County's 90,000 General Relief recipients. But some fear a charge on L.A. services if surrounding counties end payouts and poor flock to L.A.

Orange County—Bolsa Chica 

The State Lands Commission approved a $91 million deal to restore and preserve Orange County's Bolsa Chica wetlands, currently owned by Koll Real Estate Group. The Ports of L.A. and Long Beach will together contribute $78 million in return for environmental credits for port expansion projects. Past and present land users—Cal Resources, Shell Oil, and Phillips Petroleum—will see to oil related clean-up.

Debate Kicks Up Dust 

As debate in the Senate Environmental Committee heats up over the Clinton Administration’s proposed new standards on ozone and fine particulate pollution, the California Air Resources board voted 8-1 last month to approve the AQMD's controversial plan to roll back pollution controls in the L.A. basin. If the national plan is adopted this summer, the AQMD will have tighten its own standards in 2002.


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