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Effort to Repair L.A.'s Crumbling Streets Hits Speed Bump

Neighborhood Council reps want 60-day delay in City Council action on proposed $3 billion bond issue.

The Los Angeles City Council put off a vote Wednesday on a proposed $3 billion bond measure that would raise property taxes to pay for years of street repairs.

The measure has not received support from the city's neighborhood councils. The proposal was formally announced last Friday in order to meet a deadline to place it on the May 21 ballot. City Council President Herb Wesson delayed the vote on the measure until Tuesday.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander made his pitch for the $3 billion road repair bond issue Tuesday night to representatives of Neighborhood Councils from across the city, but the Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates voted 13-1 against the measure. They added their voice to that of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition, decrying what they called the "City Council's predilection for precluding the Neighborhood Councils and their stakeholders from weighing in on citywide measures." The council in December approved placing a half-cent sales tax on the March municipal primary ballot without consulting Neighborhood Councils.

"We all recognize the streets need to be fixed," said Jay Handal, chairman of the Budget Advocates committee. "Our argument is about the fact that the council has again given us 24 hours notice to look at a $3 billion issue."

If the bond measure were approved, the owner of a $350,000 home would see an annual property tax increase of about $24 the first year, rising to a peak of $113 a year, Councilman Joe Buscaino, co-sponsor of the measure told the Daily News. Construction will create 30,000 local private jobs, not city jobs, Englander told the Budget Advocates.

Neighborhood Council representatives complained that they had never been informed about the bond proposal and demanded a 60-day delay in order to give the city's 95 local boards an opportunity to review the plan.

Englander, who represents much of the northwest Valley, has been flogging the idea since before he was elected, at meetings of the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council, the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council and the Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council, as well as other venues in his district.

Englander spokesman Matt Myerhoff told Patch that the bond proposal has been undergoing "back-end work" for months, and Englander had to move quickly in order to meet a deadline to add it to the May 21 ballot while interest rates are low.

Wednesday's motion only "directs the city attorney to draw up the ballot language," Myerhoff said, and a complete street inventory is required before the plan can move forward.

Neighborhood Council coalition's Chairman Terrence Gomes, in an open letter to 95 Neighborhood Council presidents, complained that said the surprise introduction of the $3 billion bond proposal came without warning or public notice.

"They did this without any input from the public or the Neighborhood Councils that represent the stakeholders that will have to shoulder the eventual burden," Gomes said.

Englander and Buscaino, who represents the San Pedro area, are about to launch an explanatory website and are planning extensive outreach and four regional meetings before the City Council takes a final vote on Jan. 29.

"We are planning to meet with the Neighborhood Councils and other groups to explain the proposal," Englander told the Daily News. "This really isn't new. I have been working on this since I was chief deputy to (former Councilman) Greig Smith."

The bond proposal would appear on the same ballot as the mayoral runoff election as well as two initiatives dealing with medical marijuana.

Englander told Streetsblog LA that sidewalk repair isn't being left behind, it would be paid for with money left over from road repairs.

“You can only bond for projects that are specifically listed by law,” he said. “We have conditions for all 28,000 lane miles. We know where all 9,000 lane miles that are in failed and degraded condition are at. With sidewalks … they haven’t been inventoried yet.”

“Not a dime is allowed to go into the general fund or any other program, other than sidewalk reconstruction or the road repair fund,” Englander said.

For more see:

  • $3 Billion Los Angeles Street Repair Bond Issue Proposed

This article was compiled with information from City News Service.

Leigh Datzker January 09, 2013 at 03:34 PM
How does this proposal affect those of us who live on private streets as many do in Chatsworth?
Jo January 09, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Our taxes are too high already. This will just make more people and businesses flee Los Angeles. We do not have a lack to revenue problem, we have a priorities problem. LA City has made public pensions their #1 priority. Pensions are consuming 1/3 of the budget and two years from now PENSIONS+RETIREE BENEFITS will consume HALF of LA City's budget. This is why 2/3 of the Bureau of Street Services Enforcement staff has been laid off and why LA City does a lousy job of enforcing the parkways&sidewalk ordinance LAMC 56.08 that requires adjacent homeowners to maintain their parkways & sidewalks even behind their block walls. We have a tremendous amount of these "blind parkways" here in Northridge, and because LA City has laid off most of the enforcement staff in order to preserve the lavish pensions, the major streets look like third world countries. This is why, every Thursday for 2 1/2 years, a dozen of us go out and perform our neighbors' hard work along Tampa Ave., Devonshire St., Plummer, Corbin, etc. Join us tomorrow at 8 am at NW corner Plummer & Vanalden so we can discuss the City's spending priorities problems. DISGRACEFUL that the highest taxed citizens in the nation must perform this work in order to not live in blight. But, we can't keep up, just look at the 3 foot tall weeds along Tampa. Join us tomorrow 8 - 11 Plummer & Vanalden as we clean up our neighbors' messes along Plummer Street near the mall.
John Wesly Hardin IV January 09, 2013 at 06:31 PM
SO LET ME GET THIS RIGHT......our fearless leaderS are seeking to further tax & burden property owners to repair roads? Do people who rent get a free ride, bus users, this is discriminatory & has no connection to the roads. We ALL use the roads, homeowners or not, I am getting f*&(ng sick & tired of them mikling anyone who had the luck to own a home, my property tax has gone from $3,500 in 1995 to $7,000 in 2012-13- 0k but some much is NOT related we already pay for the upkeep, I say a TAX on gas of 1c a gallon dedicated to the roads, end of story, you drive, you help pay, anything else is BS & a rip off, take some of the graft you steal from the DWP, that bill has gome from $450 in 2008 to $800 today & 2 kids moved out of the house!! yes LA home of the economically challenged counsel, too buzy supporting gay rights in Iraq, banning Big MAcs on South Avalon, or making this a better sanctuary city for unlicensed, uninsured drivers allowing them to keep their cars, it would not be fair to take it would it?? Would it be fair to take my house if I said to the City Counsel "It's not fair"......no I am US citizen homeowner, I aint go no right!
Jock January 09, 2013 at 07:38 PM
You don't live in the city you live in the County, You can't vote for mayor, you aren't subject to City ordinances in L.M.. This Chatsworth zip code covering the ends of the county is a pain. It shouldn't effect you.
Charles Ewing January 09, 2013 at 08:26 PM
NO MORE TAX INCREASES.. or TAXES... .
Peace Pilgrim January 09, 2013 at 10:24 PM
The taxes can be increased ten fold and those potholes will never get fixed. Wake up people the unions are in town.
Gil January 09, 2013 at 10:45 PM
Clean water bond $80 a year Road repair bond $113 a year ontop of the 2% property taxes go up yearly We already pay $5000+ in property taxes for a 1000 sqft house. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. NO MORE TAXES.
John Wesly Hardin IV January 10, 2013 at 12:58 AM
Maybe if they gave a cut of the weekly raised & excessive parking fines to pay for the streets- huh? No Alcalde Villar needs to pay for all his trips somehow......NO MORE TAXES, if you want let everyone vote on a sales tax on gas for this, what a concept an actual nexus to a tax, Englangder, l00k up the word!
Jo January 10, 2013 at 05:43 AM
They raised parking fines by 80% since wife-cheating Mayor Villar came into office. Vote for Kevin James. The other 3 morons have been on LA City Council and Gruehl also as Controller. THEY are the reason our City is almost bankrupt and has almost the highest taxation in the country with drastically cut services. Street sweeping cut from ev. 4 weeks to once or twice a year. A street sweeper is as rare as a bicyclist in those bike lanes on Wilbur, a costly debacle by this stupid City. Get your Neighborhood Councils to vote on a resolution that strongly opposes this bond that will raise our taxes. LA City has enough of our hard earned income already; the problem is with the union salaries, benefits and especially lavish pensions. LA City Council "reformed" pensions...EXCEPT, it was just for new employees and NOT for LAFD and LAPD....these insider politicians are beholding to the unions who give them campaign donation in payment for generous pensions+retiree benefits that are way more than the private sector gets. These politicians won't touch the CURRENT employees nor police and fire because they want to keep them happy so those unions will donate to their campaigns. It is like the mafia is running our city. Ask your NC to vote on a resolution opposing this outrageous bond and vote for KEVIN JAMES FOR MAYOR or we are doomed and we deserve what we get..
Jo January 10, 2013 at 05:51 AM
Low-information voters are wrecking LA and California. Our services have been drastically cut; have your taxes been drastically cut?
second amendment guy January 10, 2013 at 07:18 AM
How much more of your paychecks have to get smaller before you people wake up. Working for the Obama social program agenda. You think taxing the rich is the answer. Tell me another bedtime story.
Jo January 10, 2013 at 03:50 PM
We need pension reform for current City employees. Lavish pensions are the main reason our City is declining. Do we have to wait until the City declares bankruptcy before City Council will implement meaningful pension reform of CURRENT employees? The private sector receives much smaller pension if they are lucky enough to get any pension at all. Private sector gets no job security and few few holidays. Private sector rarely gets retiree medical insurance like City union employees get. VOTE FOR KEVIN JAMES FOR MAYOR or we will have more of the same overspending on lavish pensions.
nonoise January 10, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Where does the money go that is collected now to fix the streets? No more taxes!
Sean January 10, 2013 at 05:27 PM
the county is not responsible to clean up the water, why should you be...?
Sean January 10, 2013 at 05:32 PM
...the fact that the council has again given us 24 hours notice to look at a $3 billion issue...people we have become Venezuela, we can now be considered a banana republic
Alex White January 10, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Absolutely priceless-- "Englander told Streetsblog LA that sidewalk repair isn't being left behind, it would be paid for with money left over from road repairs." Right-- and all the "undocumented" worker/residents/anchor-baby makers will start paying taxes on their cash income as a 2013 New Year's resolution. And, as for all that "unpermitted" remodel/construction work-- all those upstanding, honest citizens will ante up what they owe the city. While we're at it, all the unlicensed contractors, gardeners, and street venders will also acquire city business licenses because they actually don't just want to live in L.A. and suck it dry, but they actually want to support the city they reside in. And, just for kicks, all of these high-integrity career politicians will voluntarily take a pay cut, reduce staff and operating costs, and they will willingly donate part of their pension to the city coffers to help maintain this ever growing sanctuary city. "Don’t Bogart that joint, my friend…pass it onto me." And JWH IV was spot-on about the DWP. I shut everything off, and still my .... aches!
David R January 10, 2013 at 10:13 PM
as long as the citizens of LA continue to vote for the same people just because of the letter next to their name we will continue to swirl down the drain. I grew up in Encino and have watched this city turn in to a sh!*hole. Why cant the city use the money we already pay for street repair in gas taxes? Oh that's right, it went to the general fund for BS spending. It's time to make a big change to LA, flush the political toilet and vote Kevin James for mayor. If we do not fire the SOB's that have ruined this city they will continue to do so. I will not even get into the DWP ripoff that occurs daily...
Don Jagg January 11, 2013 at 06:57 AM
I have lost all confidence in Mitch Englander. As a hard working class homeowner of the West Valley for 40 years, I thought that he represented me. Boy was I wrong. Property taxes to pay for roads? Except for the part that goes past my house, what does one have to do with the other? Perhaps a history lesson is needed. Several of these comments are right on the money. People are politically stupid. The first comment is classic. This person doesn't even know that they don't live in the city and the only effect it would have on them is that they will presumably be driving down better roads as soon as they get a mile from their house, and it won't cost THEM a cent. Meanwhile, the giant three foot round, 18" deep pothole on N/B Owensmouth at Lassen is entering it's third week of life, and the street racers are having a good old time at Canoga/Lassen and Canoga/Plummer every morning at 2AM - Set your clock to it. This sure isn't the city I grew up in.
Jo January 11, 2013 at 01:16 PM
6 years ago Greig Smith got a motion unanimously passed that would fine the adjacent owners along Tampa, Devonshire, etc. if they do not clean up their parkways & sidewalks behind their houses. $50 first offense, then $100, then $150, then court. Our group of volunteers cleans these messes every Thursday for 2 1/2 years. We ask Mitch Englander, Hey what's the status of fining these people so we can stop doing their work for them? He says "There's not the political will to make that happen; ACE Program will fine them." ACE is lingering forever and ever and us volunteers keep cleaning our neighbors' parkways which is a form of extra taxation. Mitch said the only solution is delivery Did You Know letters - which we did 500 of them to no avail - or clean it up ourselves. So... in order to live in a town that doesn't look like Tijuana, we must clean our neighbors' parkways. hmmm. And, boarding house and "sober living" house businesses are opening up all over the place wrecking entire SINGLE family neighborhoods. Greig Smith had CCFO drafted 7 years ago to regulate these, but all these years later and Mitch Englander still has not gotten this passed and one of these businesses is renting tents in the backyard in Van Nuys. My neighbor rents a bed on his front porch. Lived here since 1957; quality of life is drastically declining. Watch Northridge West Neighborhood Council's website to see where volunteers clean next; join us so we can discuss further. Vote for Kevin James!
Jo January 11, 2013 at 01:25 PM
The new young City employees are being laid off and services are being drastically slashed so the lavish pensions can go on for the existing City employees. Shame on our politicians. They give away the lavish pensions so they can get reelected. Illinois may be asking for a bail out from the Federal Government due to their unfunded pensions. They are the only state that is in worse financial condition due to pensions than California. Why should states that live within their means bail out States like Illinois and California that go into crazy debt all because their corrupt politicians place union pensions as their #1 spending priority? Street sweeping is practically nonexistent now on the roads where the City does not collect parking fines. Parking fines (aka taxes) have gone up 80% under this wife-cheating mayor, and these fines mostly impact low-income apartment dwellers...so much for what they call "fairness." California and the other on-the-verge-of-bankruptcy states are run by Democrats...can't the "low information voters" see how these big government types end up wrecking their cities and states? Vote for Kevin James!

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