Bradley Outlines Attacks on Crime, Street Congestion
Sounding as much like an upstart campaigner as a newly inaugurated fifth-term incumbent, Mayor Tom Bradley on Thursday unveiled sweeping remedies for the city’s crime-ridden public housing projects, courted support for a stalled traffic initiative and laid plans to announce a proposal to revitalize one of Los Angeles’ most troubled neighborhoods.
In a City Hall press conference, Bradley, “declaring war” on drugs and violence at the city’s 21 housing projects, proposed a comprehensive, seven-point plan to increase security and social services for the Housing Authority’s 31,000 tenants.
After making the announcement, Bradley raced to a hearing by the executive board of the Southern California Assn. of Governments (SCAG), where he sought and won support for his plan to ban 70% of truck traffic from city streets during rush hours. The SCAG vote by itself will not implement the program, but it presented the mayor with an important ally on an issue to be heard later this month before the City Council.
Sets Press Conference
The mayor also scheduled a press conference for today to announce what aides described as yet another “sweeping proposal,” this one aimed at revitalizing South-Central Los Angeles. Details were not available, but the mayor is expected to announce formation of a task force to promote economic development in the neighborhood, improve housing, expand job training programs and increase services for senior citizens.
A press aide promised that the mayor will make the announcement on a “decaying, grafitti-covered street corner, which symbolizes the charge of the task force.”
The proposal is one of many mentioned last week by Bradley in his inaugural address, in which he promised to make Los Angeles a more livable city.
In part, an aide said, that means limiting growth in those neighborhoods that are choked with congestion and funneling development to those areas that have yet to enjoy the booming economy of the last several years.
The mayor’s vigor seemed intended to serve notice that he is still in control of City Hall, even as he faces investigations into his personal finances and business dealings. The city attorney, the city controller and the federal Securities and Exchange Commission are conducting separate inquiries.
“We’ve been busy, and we will stay busy,” said Deputy Mayor Mike Gage, who has complained about the political paralysis the multiple inquiries have created for the mayor.
The housing proposal, which does not require council approval, attempts to link some existing city programs in a concerted effort, allocate more personnel for others and launch new partnerships with the Police Department and schools.
Proposed are more city police officers to supplement the existing 48-member housing authority police staff, a bolstering of the housing authority’s legal staff that handles evictions of drug dealers, and the establishment of six pilot “service centers” to offer job training and placement.
“Tenants need not be economic hostages, forced by poverty to live amidst violence and drug abuse,” Bradley said.
In one of his few appearances before SCAG in several years, Bradley outlined his partial truck-ban proposal and fielded questions from representatives of other area cities which suffer the same traffic congestion as Los Angeles.
The 20-member executive committee of SCAG, an alliance of various government agencies throughout the region, has no jurisdictional authority, but is influential in the setting of public policy.
The board quickly voted unanimously to endorse the Bradley plan, which would require trucking companies to reduce their deliveries during the heavy commute hours.
The proposal is to be brought before the council later this month.