Saturday, March 04, 2006

Port Development Jenga

The Port of Los Angeles has decided to pull the bottom brick out of the pile of San Pedro's waterfront renewal by placing $18.4 million in projects on hold:

The Port of Los Angeles has temporarily shelved $18.4 million in waterfront improvements, opting instead to further study the measures as part of an overall project review that won't be finished until mid- or late 2007.

Port officials announced this week they will hold off doing the series of planned short-term improvements designed to keep momentum going on the community's ambitious $500 million waterfront makeover. That means the earliest construction on the rest of the project -- with the exception of a fountain and some restrooms -- won't begin now until late 2007 or early 2008.
But hey, at least we get the bathrooms, right?

At one point the article mentions that port staff members told commissioners they were removing the $18.4 million earmarked for the improvements from the port's 2006-07 budget.

The staff told the commissioners they were removing the money? I must not have studied local government very well - because I really that axe lay in the hands of the commissioners, not staff. I suppose pegging the staff with it relieves the commissioners - and thus our illustrious mayor - of taking too much responsibility? Maybe I just read the article incorrectly, but I swear it says "staff."

Even Noel Park thinks the next phase of development should've proceeded since it was mainly just the development of several small parks meant to tie the waterfront to downtown San Pedro. Noel Park wanted it done, get that? He's not really pro-development. So why did they nix this? A local neighborhood council president, on the other hand, says "we need to be careful about short-cutting the process."

Twenty gooddamn years of no change! TWENTY! If not more. How long a process do you need? To plant a couple of little lousy parks?

The Breeze does a nice job collecting both predictable and unexpected reaction to the decision (Janice, I'm disappointed at your utter lack of outrage), however I would love to know more about, you know, like, what the hell happened. We're told that POLA "has temporarily shelved" $18.4 million in projects and that Port staff informed Port commissioners of the earmark's removal.

Any detail on what actually happened - as opposed to San Pedrans reactions to it - would be most appreciated.


Anonymous said...

here's some inside scoop:

"staff" don't make the decisions, around here, management does. this edict came from senior management, and was presented by "staff".

Directive from the mayor's office has been to concentrate on security measures, environmental initiatives, and the change in focus means the waterfront development will lose momentum. I blame the community leaders, they've been dicking around with this for too long...

The presentation where this came out in the open was at a budget hearing - if the commissioners want to re-include the projects in next year's budget, all they have to do is say so when the final budget goes before them for approval.

Anonymous said...

The way I see it, when you get down to it in local government, you have the commissioners (the kinda sorta accountable representatives) and staff. Distinguishing among staff doesn't stop the buck anywhere sooner than with the commissioners, so I want to know why they - or the paper -gets away with saying "staff informed them" that the line item was out.

This stinks like the dock after the fleet comes in. I want to know more about what happened.

And as far as security getting the higher priority - HA! I'll believe that when I see it. Plus, that's more than a local issue. We can't solve that at the city level alone.

I blame those in the community with no sense of community history or vision who would rather see it choked off and dead than renewed and vital again.