FROM Jon Regardie
Taxpayer Aid Approved for Gehry Grand Avenue Project For years, city leaders have been trying to turn downtown LA's Grand Avenue into a vibrant urban center. But the centerpiece piece of that vision has gone unrealized: a pair of towers designed by Frank Gehry, across from Walt Disney Concert Hall. The city took a step toward finally building the towers on Tuesday, when a City Council committee voted to give a private developer nearly $200 million in taxpayer aid over 25 years to get the project done. Does that mean a groundbreaking is coming soon?
Downtown High-Rise Fight Now that downtown is the hot place to live, the proverbial drawbridges are coming up. New buildings are being built left and right, and some residents are protesting. They say the neighborhood’s seen enough development. One particular point of contention is a proposed 26-story high-rise at Ninth and Hill streets.
If the Rams Are Really Coming, Will Inglewood Win or Lose? Since the Rams and the Raiders left 21 years ago, NFL team owners have threatened smaller market cities: if they don't come up with big money, their teams will move to LA. Yesterday, the owners voted to move the Rams from St. Louis, Missouri to Inglewood. Is it for real? Andrew Hogan is founder of Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams which claims 47,000 members.
Downtown LA’s Skyline Boom The Wilshire Grand Tower is rising higher and higher over downtown LA. It will soon be the tallest building West of the Mississippi--with 73 stories reaching an altitude of 1100 feet. It’s being constructed by the Hanjin Group of South Korea. KCRW’s Saul Gonzalez put on his hard hat and went to check on what’s next for a changing skyline. Photo Credits: Saul Gonzalez
Redesigning Pershing Square Today, city officials announced a new chapter for L.A.’s first park, Pershing Square. They’re launching an international competition to redesign it. The all-concrete space that sits on top of a parking lot has been criticized for decades as a failed public space. There have been many past attempts to make it over. What’s the goal of this latest effort and how will it change the park? Photo: Seth Flaxman
The Political Temperature's Rising in the City of LA Affordable housing, parking, illegal billboards and organized labor will be some of the issues and interests in conflict during this year's primary campaign for District 14 of the LA City Council. Many political careers have begun there— now at least one will come to an end. Termed-out County Supervisor Gloria Molina is one of the challengers to incumbent José Huizar .
Burned Downtown Building Has Controversial History A huge fire destroyed an apartment building under construction in downtown L.A. this morning. Nearby roads and freeways closed for hours while firefighters got the flames under control. Nobody was hurt, and investigators are looking into the cause. The building that burned is called the Da Vinci apartments, and this isn’t the first time it’s made news. We look at the controversial history of its developer, Geoff Palmer.
New Homeless Initiative: Will It Finally Be Effective? For years, the city and county have cycled through plans to help the homeless population of Los Angeles, many of whom live in Downtown’s Skid Row. The latest proposal is getting higher marks -- even from some critics who say conditions never seem to improve for the city’s homeless. The so-called $3.7M Operation Healthy Streets program is the latest effort to bring the city and county of LA together to work on this issue. Tonight, city and county representatives are discussing the next steps -- but are the voices of Skid Row locals being heard? And will this new plan stick?
Private Profit on Public Land? Rapper Jay Z joined Mayor Eric Garcetti at City Hall yesterday to announce that the Budweiser Made in America music festival will be held at Grand Park over the Labor Day weekend. Garcetti called it "the perfect place, the perfect West Coast home" for an event that began in Philadelphia. He predicted an economic boom for the city. But not everyone shares that view.
Why Is the Rent So Damn High? There are more renters in Los Angeles than homeowners and, since the Great Recession, rents are 6% higher than they were before. That's made for a lot of frustration. We hear about institutional investors buying foreclosed properties and turning them in to rentals. We also check out the hot spots and the neighborhoods that are more affordable.
There's the Mayor's Race and then There's the City Council There are 15 members on the Los Angeles City Council, currently 14 men and one woman. Four seats are still undecided, and run-off elections are on the ballot next week. We speak with three journalist who are following the races. 1st District Jose Gardea Gil Cedillo 13th District Mitch O'Farrell John Choi 6th District Nury Martinez Cindy Montañez 9th District Ana Cubas Curren Price
Is Professional Football On-again or Off-again for Downtown LA? Anschutz Entertainment Group, the big multi-national sports and entertainment company that built Staples Center and LA Live, has plans for a new stadium to bring professional football to downtown LA. Those plans were thrown into doubt last year when Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz said AEG was up for sale. But AEG's Chief Executive, Tim Leiweke, insisted they were still on track. Today, Anschutz announced that the company is not for sale after all, and that Leiweke is out of a job -- officially by "mutual consent."
The Primary's Over, Prepare for the Runoff In May's runoff election for Mayor of Los Angeles, City Controller Wendy Greuel will face off against City Councilman Eric Garcetti . Both were opposed to Proposition A , the sales tax increase that went down to a sound defeat in yesterday's election. Garcetti, who touted his role in bringing about pension reform, spoke of a choice in the mayor's race "between someone who is going to be beholden to these [union] interests and somebody who can collaborate, step up and make the tough decisions to keep this city moving forward to balance the budget and to protect the city services we depend on." Greuel, who acknowledge the support of yet another union, assured voters, "That I will do my best to make sure that we can address our fiscal crisis. And that they will be at the table – they've got great ideas, they know better than anybody else how the city operates, and they are willing to sit at the table and negotiate." We discuss election results with a high-powered cadre of political pundits.
Los Angeles City Council Races, Districts 1, 9, and 13 Eric Garcetti isn't the only member termed out or leaving the City Council for health reasons or election to higher office. Seven of the 15 seats will have new members after the June runoff is finally over.
One Month Left until Election Day in Los Angeles Labor unions are taking center stage in the race for Mayor of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Times has obtained recordings of candidates Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti making appeals to the SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, which represents a majority of the civilian employees at City Hall. Other principal candidates in the mayoral race include: Jan Perry Kevin James Emanuel Pleitez Almost-rans include: Zev Yaroslavsky Rick Caruso Austin Beutner You can find our interviews with candidates for mayor at KCRW.com/RaceforMayor .
House Republicans release their Obamacare replacement As two House committees take up "repeal and replacement" of "Obamacare," there may be life left in the Affordable Care Act after all. Even Republicans are divided, and proposed changes won't make good on President Trump's promise to provide "health insurance for everybody."
CBO: Under GOP plan, millions will lose coverage Republicans are divided and Democrats are saying, "we told you so," when it comes to official estimates of what it will cost to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Trump White House says the Congressional Budget Office is just wrong.
Is America turning its back on the world? President Trump has made no secret of his contempt for the United Nations — and he's not alone. But, will proposed cuts in US contributions be counterproductive to America's role in the world and to national security?
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?