I wish to commend Assemblyman Dick Floyd (D-Carson) for coming to the assistance of the Holly Glen Community in Hawthorne. He has introduced Assembly Bill 702, a bill requiring Caltrans (the state Department of Transportation) to sell surplus property known as “the Glasgow Strip” to the city of Hawthorne for development as a public park. Caltrans has allowed the Glasgow Strip, between the 405 Freeway and a residential area, to become an eyesore. As grateful as I am to Floyd, I am equally appalled that the Republican assemblymen on the Transportation Committee voted as a bloc against the citizens of Hawthorne when AB 702 came before the committee on May, 1. These Republicans have sided with Caltrans in its effort to subvert the city of Hawthorne’s right and duty to govern the city and to promote the best interests of its citizens.
The Glasgow Strip has been zoned urban open space since 1983. For six years Hawthorne has attempted to purchase the Glasgow Strip from Caltrans. Unfortunately, the city was forced to request the legislation in AB 702 because Caltrans would not conduct good-faith negotiations. Contrary to current law, Caltrans refuses to sell the property at “fair market value.” Instead, Caltrans insists this property be appraised as residential, in violation of both the city’s General Plan and the zoning that has been in effect for six years. This would result in a windfall for Caltrans and a hardship for Hawthorne and its residents.
I understand the need for freeways, but I don’t agree that Caltrans should make windfall profits by the disruption necessitated by freeway development. Hawthorne is attempting to improve through acquisition of open space, but Caltrans, acting from Sacramento, is trying to impose its will contrary to Hawthorne’s General Plan and zoning ordinances. It distresses me that our Republican assemblymen would side with Caltrans against the residents of Hawthorne. I think we deserve better than this.
DONALD M. BRUECK