Business Opportunities

Your series (Nov. 24-26) on abandoned consumers in South Los Angeles noted that "most supermarket chains and other big retailers, contending that South Los Angeles lacks business potential, have failed to look for imaginative ways to serve the area." That statement indicates the primary source of the problem lies in the minds of those reluctant entrepreneurs rather than with the community itself.

What wasn't said in the series was the good fight local government has conducted on a wide scale. Despite the dismal picture portrayed by your series, there exists in the South Los Angeles a physical, political and social infrastructure upon which new businesses can build and prosper. As supervisor of the Second District, which includes the South Los Angeles community, I can say without hesitation that Los Angeles County and community leaders of the area are invaluable allies for those interested in starting a business there. Local government has been and will continue to be supportive of their efforts. One of the two shopping centers built in the area by Alexander Haagen, the Kenneth Hahn Shopping Plaza, would not have been possible without government involvement. Some 550 jobs were created along with that plaza. Martin Luther King Jr. General Hospital is a direct result of county leadership.

In Southern California, affordable housing has become an endangered species. Yet, through government subsidies and mortgage revenue bonds, thousands of such units exist in the Second District; and hundreds of low-income homeowners and tenants have benefited from an estimated $6.3 million in housing rehabilitation funds.

Ingenuity also is necessary to revitalize communities in need. Because of local government control, Community Development Block Grant funds have been invaluable in funding such imaginative projects as Willowbrook-Green. This 48-unit development combines housing and child care on a site adjacent to employment and job-training opportunities.

One positive message that should have been included in your series is that there are abundant business opportunities in South-Central Los Angeles. The recent groundbreaking ceremony for a new Denny's restaurant is one example. Opportunity in South-Central Los Angeles is limited only by an entrepreneur's willingness to get involved.

KENNETH HAHN

Los Angeles County Supervisor

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