FROM Carol Schatz
Pershing Square Renewed? Four teams will share their visions for a renewed Pershing Square this week. DnA talks to lead designers about their concepts for creating a great city park and asks: Can the park be lowered? Who will pay for it? And does public space need extensive programming to succeed or simply a green and pleasant space?
The Pros and Cons of Hotel Subsidies in LA Today the LA City Council took another step in approving subsidies for a major hotel development project downtown. The Frank Gehry designed Grand Avenue Project will bring housing restaurants and a 4 star hotel to a site across from the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The developer would be allowed to pocket at least $140 million in hotel tax revenues over the next 25 years, and the Council could pave the way for future hotels to keep millions in tax revenue as well. Dave Zahniser is a staff reporter for the Los Angeles Times.
Downtown Walmart Grocery Store Draws Fire, Sparks Excitement It's a fight to the checkout line for those for and against a new Walmart Neighborhood Market planned for downtown LA. The new 33,000 square foot store is expected to go into the bottom floor of a senior housing complex just north of the 101 Freeway, a stones throw from central Chinatown. The world's biggest retailer has been trying a smaller footprint in high-density areas, but up to now has stayed out of LA, instead locating in other big cities like Chicago. Supercenters, those with more than 100,000 square feet, have more of a city hurdle to jump in trying to get built. An LA ordinance requires retailers to provide an economic analysis on how it would affect the job market and nearby businesses. Note: Walmart was invited to participate in today's discussion but their spokesman was unavailable.
City Council Approves Modified DWP Rate Hike LA Mayor Villaraigosa has been accused of stumbling badly in his attempt to raise rates on electricity in the midst of a recession. Last week, the City Council unanimously turned down a series of four increases he said were needed to keep the DWP in business, invest in renewable fuel and avoid steep fines for not converting from coal to renewable energy. The Mayor embraced a compromise and this afternoon the Council voted on that.
Is Poverty Being Criminalized in the Midst of a Recession? In hard times, with hunger and homelessness on the rise, cities around the country are making it harder than ever to survive on the streets. And Los Angeles is America's “meanest city.” That's according to a controversial study by The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
Is It a Crime to Be Poor and Homeless in America? The recession is driving Americans out of their homes and into poverty, increasing the need for shelters and free food. But many cities are passing ordinances to punish what more and more people do to survive: sleeping, eating, sitting or begging in public. The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty's recent report called Homes Not Handcuffs says it's now illegal in some places to share food with groups of homeless people in public spaces. We look at two of America's "meanest cities." Do other cities get different results with polices that are kinder and gentler?
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
The US gets deeper into Middle East wars. What's the endgame? President Trump welcomed Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to the White House today… just one of the changes in America's approach to the Middle East since Barack Obama left office. We hear about that and the escalation of warfare as well as civilian casualties.