Updates on HLA, McCourt’s Gondola, Graffiti, and Mike Feuer

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LA WATCHDOG – The City Administrative Officer updated his cost projections for Measure HLA to $3.1 billion over the next ten years, up from $2.5 billion.  The proponents of Healthy Streets LA, however, disagreed with the CAO’s revised estimates, arguing that the estimates are based on Rolls Royce improvements and that the plan would be implemented over twenty, not ten years. 

I will go with the CAO’s version.  Over the last twenty years, I have found the CAO and his office to be a reliable source of unbiased information. Vote NO on Measure HLA. 

On Thursday, the Metro Board approved the Environmental Impact Report for Frank McCourt’s $500 million Gondola from Union Station to Dodger Stadium.  The amended motion included 31 conditions that the project would have to incorporate into its plan, including the mandate for affordable housing if the Dodgers parking lots were to be developed and guarantees that the City would be indemnified for any losses.  Approvals are still required by the City, Caltrans, and California State Parks. While the opponents of the McCourt Gondola intend to file a lawsuit to invalidate the approval of the EIR. 

McCourt and his crew have not revealed any financing plan for this speculative project that was made more difficult by the addition of the 31 conditions proposed by Supervisor Hilda Solis and backed by Board Chair, Mayor Karen Bass.  When McCourt presents his financing plan, we need to hear from a well-capitalized, nationally recognized investment bank that it is willing to underwrite this project.  As it is, any financing plan that relies on farebox and sponsorship revenue will not generate enough revenue to service the debt and operating expenses.    

Oceanwide Plaza has been vandalized by graffiti artists who have brought their art to new heights.  The City is now proposing to spend $4 million to secure the three-building high-rise, mixed-use development that was abandoned by its China based owner in 2019.  The developer reportedly spent over $1 billion and has back taxes of around $25 million and mechanic liens of $200 million.  The estimated cost to finish the development is in the billion-dollar range. Several real estate investors and developers have indicated that they would not take the project if it was given to them for free. 

This eyesore is across the street from the Los Angeles Convention Center which the City and private developers are considering spending over $2 billion to modernize and expand the facility and develop a new convention hotel.  But this expenditure is unlikely if Oceanwide Plaza resembles a war zone and surrounded by encampments. The City may need to make significant concessions to the next owner. 

Finally, Mike Feuer has no shame. He continues his quest to succeed Adam Schiff in the House of Representatives, even though in his role as City Attorney he cost DWP Ratepayers over $100 million. This involved the scam litigation surrounding the botched rollout of the Department’s Customer Information System. Why would any politician like Mayor Karen Bass endorse this liar who refuses to admit his guilt?  See Scandal Happen on Mike Feuer’s Watch

That’s All Folks, at least for now.

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate.  He can be reached at:  [email protected].)

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