For the past 7 years, I've had the opportunity to attend quite a few CAC/CRA meetings.  They've been interesting affairs, crazy spirited at the height of the Marlton Square debacle when there were questions on whether Chris Hammond would be a no-show.  I've got notes, agendas, and minutes I can't bear to toss.  I haven't been to many meetings over the past couple years, but I'm happy I made this one.

  One of the State of California's budgetary plans is to dissolve every Redevelopment Agency.  The CRA/LA has had its faults <cough> Marlton Square </cough>, but over the course of the last two decades, Los Angeles has become a more attractive and eventful place to live.  The City of Los Angeles has been slowly combining and dismantling Community Advisory Committees over the past several years, as well.  And then there's the general lack of enthusiasm from the residents of the Leimert/Crenshaw communities to attend meetings that aren't a general call to arms.  Maybe Marlton Square took a lot out of the neighborhoods.  At less than a decade, I would assume I still qualify as an observer.

  The speaker for the Baldwin Hill Crenshaw Plaza (Sharron King?)  was enthusiastic about mall.  (With good reason.  If you haven't been recently, you need to go.)  She expanded on the renovations, the events like the "ice"-skating rink opening this weekend and Thursday Jazz at the newly-windowed bridge.  Although I'm exaggerating, I think I've personally listened to a mall presentation a month over the past year.  The Management has won me over and now I gush to everyone I know about this special mall down the street from my house...  Don't get me wrong, I think the Fox Hills renovation is terrific, but the BHCP is The Little Mall That Could.

  Attending community meetings gives insight into the nuances of just what is -- or isn't -- going on in the neighborhood.  Wal-Mart wants to hire, but doesn't get qualified applicants.  Audience members complained about the poor quality of Wal-Mart's service and the store's need to provide better training.  There were complaints about the parking lot cleanliness.  We like to complain when something isn't right, but honestly?  The Mall doesn't throw fast-food containers or dirty diapers on the asphalt.  How does a facility train its patrons to care-take the property?  We have to learn to respect the places we frequent as much as we respect our homes.

  Brenda Shockley of Community Build spoke about the upcoming contract renewal for the Crenshaw/Leimert Business Improvement District.  Clint Rosemond, former BID president, retired at the end of August.  BID's are funded through property assessments, needing 51% approval from the commercial property owners in that area.  There is a pending California Supreme Court ruling to allow BID's to continue.  If so, the Crenshaw/Leimert BID may expand as far North as the 10 Freeway, and South to Slauson.  Its current boundaries are King/Vernon & Arlington/Crenshaw, excluding the BHCP.  "You get more when you have more", Ms. Shockley stated.  CAC Chairperson, Joyce Perkins, pointed out the BID does a great deal with less than $200,000/year.

  In conclusion, the BID is interviewing consultants in order to develop the best expansion.  Representatives from Council Districts 8 & 10 will be invited to help, as well as Michelle Banks from the Mid-City CRA and Carolyn Hull from the South CRA.  The new Crenshaw BID may be comparable in size to Figueroa's.  Ultimately, the BID will continue to maintain all new and existing projects.

  An audience comment explained that Metro may be leveling the area along King between Crenshaw and Mc Clung for the LAX line construction.  Ms. Perkins asked Mr. Chun to invite Metro to speak to the community about the project's neighborhood impact.

  Billy Chun, Project Manager, spoke to the CRA's ability to continue, pending the California Assembly bills that may pull the plug on the agency.  CRA/LA, fearing for its existence, has entered into a co-op agreement with the City of Los Angeles in an effort to shepherd its current projects, but passage of the bills may void that contract.  It's unknown if current projects with agreements in place will be completed.  More than likely projects without agreements will be left in the air.

  He urged all audience members to attend redistricting meetings.  The next CD8 meeting will be on January 10, 2012 at 6:30 at the Expo Center.

  Buckinham Senior Apartments are on schedule for the January 15, 2012 Certificate of Occupancy.  A lottery will be held on December 23 for the 1 and 2 bedroom apartments in the 80-unit building.  Low income applicants of at least 62 years of age may contact Johanna Faulkner at Barker Property Management in Anaheim for an application.  Her phone number is (714) 533-2450 extension 279.

  Finally...  The first phase of the Marlton Square demolition is nearly complete.  The CRA just received bids to demolish the former Maranatha Church building, slated for January.  Mr. Chun explained there is lots of interest from developers for the huge lot.  The CRA's first choice would be for one developer to complete a unified project.  However, the CRA only owns the property along King Boulevard.  There are still several owners of the lot.  Plans are off the table for the residential development along Santa Rosalia.  The death of a Mr. Buchanan hasn't made a cohesive plan any easier, as his property is now in trust.

  CAC co-Chair Jerry Edwards asked after the CAC's previous request for numbers on local hires for the Marlton demolition. Those numbers should be available at January's meeting.

  The meeting concluded after that, at approximately 7:30.  Short, sweet.  And slightly sentimental.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed they'll continue.  Shuffle around on the CRA/LA website to understand what role the agency has played in shaping this community: http://www.crala.org/Projects/Regional_Areas/south_la_region.cfm

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Comment by Yvonne Ellett on December 12, 2011 at 11:52pm

Thanks, A.Jea.

Ever since my very first CAC meeting all those years ago, I found that the best resource for news in the area is through local and community meetings.  My husband and I laugh about my stamina for them.  I've come to admire the people behind the gavels .  When you realize how difficult city politics are -- even at the ECWANDC level, it's easier to find a level of admiration for the people who are willing to put in effort for what appear to be thankless positions.  As residents, we are great at reacting and complaining.  To be proactive, to shepherd our best interests, isn't something we've either been trained to do or practice doing.  I've sat through meetings in SoRo where a 100 people appear for a cause and 75 are there at the end.  It's a learning process, for sure.

Your positivity is pretty astounding even through this electronic medium.  Thank you for sending some my way.

:) yvonne

Comment by AJea L on December 12, 2011 at 2:48pm

Dear Yvonne,

Thank you for attending the CAC meeting and bringing to us such wonderful surveillance. Your detail of the event mixed with your bounding humor and wit is just preciously priceless:) It makes a great read.

 

You have definitely given us a lot to work with here. The targets you have amplified in our community I think, should be seriously considered. Although daunting, not impassable. The consolidation of agencies working in collaboration with one another at the intersection of their respective interests I think could be strengthened from a public-relations perspective.

 

As a volunteer with the Wellness Outreach Work being done within the West Central Mental Health Clinic at Stocker & Santa Rosalia, giving assistance and support to the ECWANDC Neighborhood Council, Planning, Land-Use & Beautification Committee, I am becoming more aware of some very good resources available to assist with re-engaging and energizing our exhausted community. Recognizing how Civc Policies directly impact our personal lives has me encouraged and enthusiastic about our prospects moving forward. 

 

Being in complete and growing #solidarity with our LeimertParkBeat, http://occupyla.org/, and all others who are focusing on how our local economy is inexorably linked to the economy of this nation and thereby in turn to the Globalization project underway brought on by 21st Century technology, It is my sincere honor to support all positive efforts that serve to improve our Neighborhood's quality of life.

 

Yvonne, Im grateful for your valuable work. I will be looking forward to your future update's. If you can think of any area where I might be of service to your efforts, please don't hesitate to give a shout-out! 323.381.6737##

 

My Warmest Regards,

AJea-_-*

Enjama...   

 

 

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