Los Angeles Plagued by Poverty, Crumbling Infrastructure

According to the Los Angeles 2020 Commission, Los Angeles is suffering from a “crisis of leadership and direction.” As a result, the city is being abandoned by industry, beset by poverty, and overwhelmed by traffic congestion. "The city where the future once came to happen has been living in the past and leaving tomorrow to sort itself out," the commission concluded.

City Council President Herb Wesson, who convened the commission, decided along with others that it would be beneficial to have an independent body examine the city’s problems. The commission, formed by a 13-member citizen panel, released the report on Wednesday titled, "A Time For Truth." Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor chaired the panel and asserted that the Los Angeles city government is spending more revenue than it is taking in. Cantor’s commission also posits that the city lacks a sound strategy regarding economic development and is trailing other major cities in job growth.

“A Time for Truth” offers a scathing indictment of the Los Angeles Unified School District, claiming that it is "failing our children and betraying the hopes of their hardworking parents." Moreover, the report charges that the city is "dramatically under investing" in important infrastructure, including: the Los Angeles harbor, LAX, and the Department of Water and Power. The report scolds the Los Angeles leadership, saying it has been compromised by special interest groups who adhere to NIMBYism (Not in My Backyard).

Furthermore, the commission cited that leadership is slow to make decisions, indicating it took three years to approve a $1-billion development plan sought by USC: "Not a sensible way to treat the city's largest private employer." 


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