June 30, 2004 - From the May, 2001 issue

MIR Reader Survey: How Should L.A.'s New Mayor Respond to City's Massive Infrastructure Challenges?

With the race for Mayor of the great City of L.A. coming into its final weeks, Metro Investment Report asked its subscribers for their thoughts on the question: "What must the new Mayor do to address the critical infrastructure challenges facing the City of Los Angeles?"

With the energy crisis draining California's budget reserves, government funds will once again be very tight. It's more important than ever that the new Mayor look at infrastructure needs from the perspective of cost effectiveness: What is the most resource-efficient manner in which to accommodate new growth? What strategies will minimize energy consumption, transportation infrastructure requirements, and water consumption, so that L.A. can maintain its economic and environmental health?

-Judy Corbett, Local Gov't Commission

He will have to be very aggressive evaluating, planning and implementing (fast tracking) a complete infrastructure upgrade of the City's water, sewer and power systems. A blue-ribbon evaluation committee of key public policy, engineering, construction, environmental, labor and residents should be one of his first priorities.

-Steven C. Crosby

AT&T Wireless Services

The next mayor needs to "bridge the gap"

between sustainable communities and environmental protection: sustainability requires an action plan of restoration and reuse, with effective urban infill projects that benefit both people and the environment.

-Jennifer Hernandez

Beveridge & Diamond LLP

The next Mayor has got to be a champion for more intelligent use of limited resources to not only fix the infrastructure that is "broken," but also be an energetic leader for new ways of doing business so that we take advantage of what funding we can muster in the most efficient and inspiring way possible (e.g., joint use of new and existing schools for community and educational needs, investments in conservation and new technologies that can save water, power, and add trees and green space in a barren cityscape, etc.).

-Felicia Marcus, former EPA Administrator

LA's Mayor must play a significant role in upgrading the City's infrastructure. This might include a number of blue-ribbon committees to address specific problems such as street and road repairs, long-range traffic enhancements, extension of the light rail directly to LAX, expansion of LAX, and so on. Each should not only address the specific problem area, but also provide a master plan for implementation and costs.

-Wally Fassler, retired VP, Chevron

The new Mayor should endorse the concept in Assemblymember Juan Vargas's AB 321, which would assign the State share of the sales taxes on gas and motor vehicles to transportation infrastructure, with special emphasis on public transportation, including bus and rail operating funds.

-Jerry Meral, Ph.D.

Planning & Conservation League

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Transit, airport, harbor-these big ticket, grand plan priorities need long-term vision. But the most urgent priority to keep the City of L.A. from falling apart is neighborhood infrastructure: parks, schools, trees, streets and sidewalks. These are the amenities that keep residents from the cynical feeling that they live in a giant metropolis with a sluggish bureaucracy that doesn't care. Making the public realm greener, more functional and more beautiful is vital to restoring pride and human scale to Los Angeles.

-Rick Cole, City of Azusa

The new Mayor needs to provide leadership on the LAX Master Plan issues. We need viable alternatives to simply having surface traffic gridlock be the default option that limits passenger and cargo growth at LAX. A new LAX Master Plan that mitigates traffic, air quality and noise impacts, while more efficiently accommodating limited growth at the airport-and providing jobs and economic benefits for the region-should be very high on his priority list.

-Carlyle Hall, special counsel for LAWA

Our new Mayor must have the wisdom to prioritize the varied infrastructure needs of the City, and he must have the courage to act on them.

-Zev Yaroslavsky, L.A. County Supervisor

The new Mayor's first act to improve the City's vital infrastructure should be to appoint a General Manager for DWP, give her the direction to manage the City's energy and water systems in an economically and environmentally efficient manner, and then appoint a board of commissioners who will help the new GM do the job. Next the Mayor should take a careful look at spinning off trash disposal and sewer services into a municipal utility as well, either combined with DWP or as a stand-alone business, as Seattle did.

-Mary Nichols

California Natural Resources Secretary

Within the first three months in office, the new Mayor should consider taking the following actions: 1) Appoint a Deputy Mayor for Strategic Infrastructure Investment; 2) Establish an interagency infrastructure working group with representatives from all City departments with responsibility for infrastructure planning and implementation-new Deputy Mayor to chair; and 3) Begin the drafting of a "City Strategic Infrastructure Investment and Implementation Plan" in coordination with labor and the private sector.

-Norman H. Emerson

Emerson & Associates

The solution lies within! Part of the solution to L.A.'s critical infrastructure issues can be addressed through aggressive implementation of measures within the new City Charter designed to link communities with City government. Communities can help the City prioritize resources to ensure support for the tough decisions that will need to be made.

-Tony Lucente

Studio City Residents Association

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